However dismal and rainy it may seem, temperatures in the highlands of Scotland are the highest ever recorded at this time of year.

At 16.44 on Sunday afternoon, the Press Association put out a story under the headline: "November `heatwave' set to break century-old record". Three hours later, their forecast proved correct. At 19.42 the story was rewritten as: "November `heatwave' breaks century-old record". The temperature of 18.8C recorded in Aultbea in the Wester Ross region of the Highlands was the hottest ever, anywhere in the British Isles, in the second half of November. The previous record was 18.7C in Croydon, south London, in 1895.

This curiously mild weather - which is expected to continue throughout the week - is caused by a blast of warm air coming in across the Atlantic from the Azores and Bermuda. The dampness of this warm air is also what is bringing storms to so much of the country, but when the rain doesn't fall, unseasonable warmth is the result.

"Taken alone, an event like this is just part of the variation of the weather cycle," Peter Eden of the PA Weather Centre said. "But over the last 10 years we have broken so many high temperature records of one sort or another, and so few low temperature records, it is quite reasonable to see it as something which is perhaps illustrating a warming trend."