Weather: Lightning set to strike Scotland twice

Lightning in East Lothian. Picture: Jim Hunter
Lightning in East Lothian. Picture: Jim Hunter
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A SERIES of thunder and lightning storms lit up the skies over Scotland from Wednesday afternoon into the early hours of yesterday morning, with forecasters warning that more severe weather is on its way today.

Hours after swathes of the country baked in temperatures approaching 30C, the storms brought a record-breaking number of lightning strikes as well as torrential rain.

A lightening storm hits Blyth on the Northumberland coast. Picture: PA

A lightening storm hits Blyth on the Northumberland coast. Picture: PA

The worst of the weather was confined to the east coast, allowing members of the public to take photographs of the lightning.

In Edinburgh, people shared images of the dramatic storms over the city centre in the early hours of yesterday, which were then reposted by social media users.

Eyewitnesses also captured pictures of the lightning as far afield as the Borders, Dundee and Banffshire. The storms were at their most fierce from around midnight until 1:30am.

Some of the most powerful images were taken in Aberdeen city centre by Scott McKeand, showing the lightning striking over buildings.

Picture: Jim Hunter

Picture: Jim Hunter

The 32-year-old said: “I was woken up by the first loud clap of thunder and noticed the flash of lightning. My first thought was to grab the camera and tripod.”

According to the Met Office, some 8,486 lightning strikes were registered on Wedneday, the most since records began in 2008. The thunder and lightning was caused by the intense heat and humidity, which destabilised the air and led to the stormy conditions given the amount of energy in the atmosphere.

Scotland Hydro Electric Power Distribution said there were several lightning strikes to the network but no major problems were experienced.

He said: “We had quite a few of strikes, from Oban and the Western Isles and Skye to the Highlands and up towards Shetland. We had a few in the Tayside area, too.

“There were one or two power cuts but they were quite minor.”

Although conditions were more settled yesterday, the Met Office has issued a yellow “be aware” warning for more storms in the south of Scotland from this evening through to tomorrow lunchtime.

It said the isolated heavy, and possibly severe thunderstorms could lead to torrential downpours and even hail showers.

Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “Friday will likely stay nice and dry across most places and temperatures will be a little warmer, around 27C or 28C, although there will be some unsettled weather Friday night with more thunderstorms.”

The worst disruption from the storms came in England, with more than 50,000 people in the north-east suffering power cuts. A nursery owner in north Yorkshire watched helplessly as up to 5,000 greenhouse panes were smashed by giant hailstones.