SCOTLAND is on track for its coldest spring for 34 years, with average temperatures between March and May a mere 4.7 degrees Celsius.
Provisional figures from the Met Office have confirmed what many have already guessed, and reveal temperatures are 1.6 degrees lower than average for the time of year. Barring a last-minute heatwave today, this spring will be the coldest in Scotland since 1979.
Average spring temperatures for Scotland are also 1.7 degrees lower than the UK average of 6C, which in turn was 1.8C below the usual national average.
Snow continued to fall as recently as last week for parts of Scotland. Exceptionally cold conditions throughout March saw thick snow fall over much of the country, blocking roads and closing schools. Strong northerly winds reduced temperatures to as low as -3C.
Scotland was also drenched by 297mm of rainfall over the three-month period, compared to the UK average of 219mm.
As a whole, the UK shivered its way through the coldest spring since 1962, making it the fifth-coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910.
The Met Office said the colder than average conditions were caused by different weather patterns at certain times, but generally the spring period has seen frequent easterly and northerly winds which have brought cold air to the UK from polar and northern European regions.
Scotland also braved lower than average temperatures throughout May, the coldest since 1996.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said earlier this week that colder than usual seawater may have prevented basking sharks from frequenting waters around the west coast. However, a sighting of approximately 25 off the coast of Lewis yesterday suggests that warmer weather is on the way.
Jean-Luc Solandt, senior biodiversity officer at the MCS, said: “Divers are telling us that the water temperature is 10 or 11 degrees Celsius but it should be nearer 13 degrees.”
The cold weather has also delayed the hatching of the dreaded midges, which usually begin to plague walkers in early May.
Dr Alison Blackwell, director of Advanced Pest Solutions of Edinburgh, said: “It has been so cold that we have had very few reports of any midges. Only now there have been the odd one or two being spotted.”
As spring segues into summer, Scotland can expect some warmer temperatures with spells of sunshine and calm winds, a forecaster for the Met Office predicted.
He said: “June is likely to begin with a weekend of light showers and some periods of cloud, but there will be some dry, brighter spells. Southern parts will tend to be warmer, though areas as far up as Aberdeen may reach up to around 14 degrees.
“Monday looks drier and more settled, with a slight chance of light showers to the west. It will be bright and breezy to the east, and temperatures may reach up to 17 or 18 degrees following bright spells.”