Mercury drops to -22.9C in Scotland, the coldest temperature recorded in UK in more than 25 years
Temperatures in Scotland plunged to their coldest level in more than 25 years on Wednesday night, nearly reaching -23C in Braemar, as the country experienced an “extreme freeze”.
The Met Office said the temperature in Braemar, the Aberdeenshire town famed for its Highland games, reached -22.9C (-9.2F), the coldest recorded in the UK since 1995 and the first time in a decade the mercury has dropped below -20C.
Malcolm MacIntyre, of Braemar mountain rescue team, told BBC Radio Scotland conditions were crisp and clear. “It is a beautiful morning actually and it is really cold,” he said. “The snow is squeaky, which always signifies that it is really cold.”Advertisement
But in a strange twist, Scottish firefighters have warned there is an “extreme” risk of wildfires across the Hebridean islands and west coast, mirroring similar problems during the “beast from the east” period of severe winter weather three years ago.
Fire crews battled a wildfire on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides on Wednesday, with similar incidents recorded on Skye, Harris and Bernera.
Bruce Farquharson, an area commander for the Scottish fire and rescue service, said very dry winter vegetation along the western coastline made conditions ideal for wildfires, and urged people to be extremely cautious with naked flames. “There are currently vast areas of countryside all over the country that are tinder-dry and vulnerable, this provides all of the ingredients for fire to take hold and spread,” he said.
With deep snow carpeting much of Scotland, the Met Office has yellow weather warnings in place for the eastern coastline of the UK, from Shetland down the Channel, and the south-west of England and Wales.
ScotRail, the train operator, said the snow and ice was causing major disruption, particularly in the central belt. Services to and from Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street were the worst affected, it tweeted on Thursday.