Highlands & Islands

Snow forecast for Scotland's hilltops and mountains

Buachaille Etive Mor Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Snow showers and gales have been forecast for some of Scotland's hills and mountains

Wintry conditions have been forecast for Scotland's hills and mountains.

The Met Office has warned of the "high risk" of southerly gales affecting peaks in the west Highlands on Friday.

Snow showers are expected on Saturday with the most frequent and heaviest likely over Skye and the north west Highlands, according to the Met Office.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has posted a picture of an avalanche in the Cairngorms to highlight the forecasted wintry weather.

Uploaded to the MCofS's Facebook page, the image shows the snow slide on Hell's Lum in the Northern Cairngorms.

Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser for the council, said it was not unusual for avalanches to occur in May.

However, she said the organisation hoped to use the image to send out a message warning of the bad weather expected at the weekend.

'flexing its muscles'

Wind speeds of up to 43mph have also been forecast at lower levels in the Highlands and Islands on Saturday, including Inverness, Ullapool and Portree.

Lewis-based Dr Edward Graham, of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), said sea temperatures were among the main reasons for the cold and windy weather.

He said: "The sea dictate the vast majority of our weather.

"Sea temperatures in the North Atlantic are much cooler than normal.

"Between 3 and 9 May, the sea temp was half a degree below average for most of the Atlantic and one degree below average in the central Atlantic."

Dr Graham, who blogs on the weather, said another factor was a strong high pressure that rises from the Azores.

He said: "It is almost always there, but this winter was more intense than normal and pushed up towards France and England.

"It has been flexing its muscles over the past six months and has helped to direct a low pressure systems towards us."

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