Edinburgh > Hogmanay party organisers desperate to beat weather

Edinburgh at New Year Celebrations  Organisers of one of the world’s biggest New Year parties today insisted there were no plans to cancel the event amid forecasts of foul weather.

Edinburgh City Council said it was constantly monitoring the situation after being warned of gale-force winds tomorrow. Meteorologists have predicted rain across the central belt of Scotland on Hogmanay with gusts up to 70mph expected during the afternoon.

More than 100,000 people are preparing to see in the New Year at the Scottish capital’s world-famous Hogmanay street party, with 25,000 revellers expected at a similar council-run event in Glasgow. Pop acts Pet Shop Boys and Paolo Nutini headline the capital’s evening, with a huge firework display and outdoor events also planned.

Three years ago saw the Scottish capital’s Hogmanay dramatically cancelled on safety grounds because of stormy weather. Tens of thousands of people were left disappointed after being caught out at short notice.

Andrew Holmes, Director of Development for Edinburgh City Council, said: “There are no plans to cancel any of the planned Hogmanay events in the city. Indeed, 15,000 people braved the weather last night to take part in the first of our Hogmanay events, the Torchlight Procession, marching through the city to Calton Hill. By the end of event more severe weather conditions had begun and continued throughout the night. I am happy to say there was no material damage to any of our stages from that weather. Current weather information suggests that the conditions of last night were as severe as Edinburgh may experience over the period and this gives us great confidence for the night of Hogmanay.”

The 2003 cancellation was caused by forecast gusty winds between 10pm and midnight, that organisers feared could affect stages and other public areas.

Mr Holmes added: “The current weather forecast for December 31 is for the late afternoon and early evening to be wet and blustery. But we expect the weather to improve by late evening. “As always public safety is our primary concern and all necessary precautions are being taken to ensure Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a safe and enjoyable event. Infrastructure has been improved and is designed to cope with the usual extremes of Scottish weather.”

Meanwhile, forecasters offered some hope that Edinburgh and Glasgow could escape the brunt of the storms. Paul Knightley, from MeteoGroup UK, said today: “It looks as though Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Hogmanay celebrations could escape the worst of this massive storm coming across the Atlantic. If it continues on its present course the most severe weather will likely end up over the Scottish Borders and north of England by tomorrow evening but these storms can be unpredictable. The central belt is still in for a very mucky afternoon tomorrow. It looks like it could still be wet and blustery in the evening but revellers at the street party may well avoid the brunt of this storm.”