Volatile weather 'Scotland's new normal' after record-breaking week

Experts warn summer heatwaves and record rainfall are now the norm in Scotland.

Extreme heat and volatile weather ‘Scotland’s new normal’ after record-breaking week Jeff J Mitchell / Staff via Getty Images

Extreme heat will become the “new normal” for Scotland over the summer months, but volatile weather including record rain and snowfall is also set to batter the country.

Experts have warned spikes of high temperatures are likely to become part of future weather planning due to the effects of climate change.

Scotland recorded a new record high at Floors Castle in the Borders on Tuesday when the mercury shot over 35C.

South of the border, temperatures hit above 40C in England while harrowing scenes of wildfires were recorded in several areas.

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Climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group are planning a “die-in” protest in Glasgow on Saturday as part of a demand for urgent climate action.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty said the effects of climate change were “something Scotland would have to get used to,” warning extremes will not just come in the form of heat in the future.

“We didn’t just squeak past the previous record, we absolutely blew it out of the water by two degrees,” he said.

“We saw the scenes in England, we’ve had more fires in the past few years, even in areas like the Western Isles, so these are things that are going to happen even more often.

“Unfortunately, this is going to become the norm.

“We are going to see extremes and not just for heat, we’re talking about extremes for rainfall, extremes for snowfall like we saw in the Central Belt during the Beast from the East a few years ago; it’s the volatility of the weather we are going to have to get used to.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) raised the wildfire threat level to “very high” for eastern and southern parts of the country at the start of the week.

A farm in Kelso had six fire crews battling a blaze that broke out in a crop field for almost three hours while workers dug makeshift fire trenches around the affected area in a bid to halt the flames in their path.

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Crews in London described conditions as they battled more than 1,000 fires across the city on Tuesday as “absolute hell” and “like a warzone”.

Transport infrastructure was also brought to its knees in some parts of the country as train lines buckled under the high temperatures, forcing hundreds of services to be cancelled.

“A lot of people have mentioned the 1976 heatwave and how we survived that,” Sean said.

“That was warmer overall, but we didn’t have the spikes in the mid-thirties. That’s very difficult to prepare for.

“It really does impact the infrastructure here in the UK, but it also hampers other countries. Spain and Portugal when they have heatwaves and the likes of Norway when they have record snowfall, all infrastructure shuts down.”

XR members plan to lie down with sheets over the bodies, with placards bearing a “cause of death” including “Heat Stress – Death from temperature rising to over 40 degrees”.

The group has consistently campaigned for more focus to be placed on the climate emergency with visible actions across the UK and beyond.

NHS Physiotherapist Damian McGovern, 41, who plans to take part in the protest, said: “If your house was on fire, you wouldn’t sit around and have a chat about it for 30 years or choose to throw more fuel on it to burn even faster.

“So why are allowing this to happen to our planet?”

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Receptionist Wolf Saanen, 39, added: “‘We’ve been sounding the alarm about the global climate emergency for years.

“Now it has arrived on our shores, will those with the power to change things finally listen?”

“We saw the scenes in England, we’ve had more fires in the past few years, even in areas like the Western Isles, so these are things that are going to happen even more often.