IT has been an unseasonably warm winter which saw daffodils bloom in December as the mercury hit double figures.
So this weekend’s plunging temperatures will come as a shock to the system as Lothian braces itself for the coldest weather so far this winter.
A yellow warning of ice was in place across the Lothians this morning, leading to treacherous driving conditions on untreated surfaces.
And as freezing winds sweep in from the Arctic, the Met Office has warned that the region will be among the coldest in Scotland, with the exception of mountainous areas where temperatures could fall as low as -10C.
But transport chiefs have insisted they are fully prepared, with a fleet of gritters on standby to cope with the icy weather.
Lindsay Mears, a spokeswoman for the Met Office said: “It’s definitely getting colder compared to December, which was a lot milder and wetter. There will be some snow flurries on higher ground.
“It will be quite a bit colder than it has been – the coldest it has been so far this winter.
“Temperatures are falling now even at lower levels. It is actually about average for the time of year but will feel colder because it has been such a mild winter.”
Even during the day temperatures look set to remain at around four or five degrees throughout next week, hovering at around freezing overnight.
And forecasters have warned that the cold snap is set to continue into next week, with flurries of snow and sleet expected on higher ground.
The city council has 16,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled plus a fleet of 31 road gritters and 21 pavement gritters.
It is also able to call in additional support if necessary, while advice for dealing with winter weather and supporting vulnerable people is available online at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/winterweather.
Transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We are prepared for any weather that comes our way over the weekend and throughout winter, with salt stocked up and a gritting team on hand 24/7 to respond to poor conditions on the city’s priority roads, cycle paths and pavements.
“We will continue to monitor forecasts closely.
The plunging temperatures follow one of the warmest winters in a century, a trend blamed partly on last year’s strong El Nino weather phenomenon – a warm phase in the Pacific Ocean current.
According to reports from meteorologists from Exacta Weather, the coldest winter in 58 years will hit the country with gales and snow causing travel chaos across Scotland.