IT was among the hottest September days in years and brought thousands outside to bask in the sun.
The mercury hit 24C in Edinburgh and 25C in East Lothian yesterday as a rare autumn heatwave hit the region, filling parks and gardens across the city. But forecasters have warned it will not last – with heavy rain and plummeting temperatures by the weekend . . . and snow showers within weeks.
Local authorities are preparing winter weather contingencies early, with snow predicted for October.
Forecasters have said the coming sudden change in temperature – from 25C to single digits within a week – is among the most dramatic ever seen and only occurs on a handful of occasions each century.
Leon Brown, operations director of Weather Services International, told the Evening News that frost could arrive as early as next week.
He said: “It’s quite unusual to get such high temperatures followed by low ones. If you go back around the last 100 years, you might find two or three events within a single week.
“In the next week there’s a probability – about 50/50 – that it may be cold enough for snow in the Grampians, and frost in East Lothian.”
He added: “It’s very warm at the moment but it’ll cool off over the next few days and turn a lot cooler towards the end of next week. We are expecting this winter to be another cold one, although not as extreme as the last two years, and we expect that to kick in as we go through October.
“In October itself there may well be some shorter cold snaps and there could well be a few snow showers in Edinburgh and the Lothians towards the end of the month.”
He added: “I don’t know the record for the Edinburgh and Lothian area but it’s very close to it at around the 25C mark. It’s very unusual to get those temperatures this time of year.”
Blissfully unaware of the depressing forecasts, visitors have flocked to city attractions to make the most of the sunshine. Alan Bennell, head of visitor services at the Botanic Gardens. said the Indian summer had brought thousands through its gates.
He said: “The unusually warm weather has definitely had an impact on our visitor numbers. We had 4500 people through the gates on Tuesday and around the same number yesterday. People are clearly making the most of the nice weather.”