Temperatures could hit record highs in Scotland on Tuesday as the country looks set to continue sweltering in a heatwave.
The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning – for extreme heat in eastern, southern and central parts of Scotland – which is in force until midnight on Tuesday.
Ahead of soaring temperatures, which weather experts believe could pass the August 2003 record of 32.9C at Greycrook in the Scottish Borders, Holyrood minister Keith Brown urged people “to think about whether they need to travel and, if they do, make sure they’re properly equipped and plan their journey in advance”.
But so far Scotland’s record has not been passed. At 3pm on Tuesday the hottest place north of the border was Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway where the temperature was 32.3C, the Met Office said.
In Threave, Dumfries and Galloway, the thermometer climbed to 31.2C, while in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, it reached 30.9C.
And, according to the Met Office, Leuchars in Fife recorded 30.2C while Gorgarbank in Edinburgh hit 30.1C.
Temperatures north of the border on Tuesday surpassed year-highs set the day before.
On Monday, they rose to 31.3C in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire and Leuchars in Fife.
Meanwhile, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh recorded 30.8C and temperatures peaked at 29.9C in Aviemore.
South of the border, the Met Office issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning for a large part of England, covering Monday and Tuesday.
While it is set to be cooler than the 42C the Met Office said is possible in eastern England, Scotland is forecast scorching temperatures.
Edinburgh is predicted to reach 31C, while Glasgow could reach around 28C.
With the very hot weather, many services today will be delayed due to speed restrictions. Also, we're still operating a temporary timetable so services will end earlier. Check your journey and think about getting an earlier train home to avoid busy services at the end of the day.
— ScotRail (@ScotRail) July 19, 2022
But in Aboyne, thermometers could reach 32C, and in Coldstream, in the Scottish Borders, the temperature could soar to 34C.
The rising temperatures have seen ScotRail put speed restrictions on many services, and rail bosses have warned trains could be delayed because of them.
Keith Brown, Justice Secretary and lead minister for resilience at Holyrood, said the Scottish Government is “receiving regular updates from partners including Transport Scotland, the Met Office, the NHS and emergency services and we’ll continue to closely monitor developments”.
“When temperatures increase, it’s important to monitor forecasts and follow public health advice, including staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding excess alcohol,” he said.
“People should also look out for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, as older people, those with underlying conditions and those living alone may struggle to keep cool and hydrated.”
Scottish Water has asked people to be as efficient with their water as possible, and urged them to use watering cans rather than hoses in gardens, not to fill up paddling pools and to take shorter showers.
The risk of wildfires in Eastern and Southern Scotland is ‘Very High’.
Taking simple steps can help prevent vast damage to the environment and protect emergency services from attending avoidable incidents.
— Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (@fire_scot) July 18, 2022
The request came after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued a water scarcity warning on Sunday.
It said in the east of Scotland, areas such as the Dee, Firth of Forth, Almond and Tyne catchment areas have been raised to moderate scarcity, which means businesses that extract water from the areas should do so only “if absolutely necessary”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has warned that the wildfire risk in southern and eastern parts of Scotland has risen to “very high”.
It said that, in prolonged periods of high temperatures, the risk of wildfires breaking out increases.
SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson said: “At this time of year, the ground vegetation is a combination of green growth, with a relatively high moisture content, and dead vegetation lying on top, which can easily ignite and spread quickly over a large area.”
He added: “During the next few days, I would urge the public to avoid lighting fires outdoors but, if you must, check for restrictions or permissions required by the landowner and make sure you use a fire safe pit or container that can be properly extinguished before you leave.
“We need people to be aware of how quickly things can get out of hand – the smallest outdoor ignition can spread rapidly and burn for days. Therefore, we are asking people to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors and please think twice before using anything involving a naked flame.”