It could be worst summer for 50 years

EAST Anglia is on course for its worst summer in more than 50 years, with Suffolk and Essex deprived of almost 200 hours of sunshine over the past three months.

EAST Anglia is on course for its worst summer in more than 50 years, with Suffolk and Essex deprived of almost 200 hours of sunshine over the past three months.

More than 60 per cent of the region's tourism industry said the poor summer was likely to “seriously” affect business performance over the year, with weather-dependent attractions expected to be hardest hit.

Tourism bosses are now planning to extend the season for as long as possible in a bid to turn around the situation and ensure an increase in visitor-spend by the end of the year.

The mercury has only risen to 80F (27C) on two days since May, while the total rainfall in East Anglia has been almost double the average.


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Temperatures yesterday reached just 59F (15C), well below July and August averages of 70F (21C).

Ipswich-based weatherman Ken Blowers said Suffolk and Essex had been deprived of 199 hours of sunshine between May and July 31 compared to the average.

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During this period, 11.27inches of rain fell across both counties (5.6inches higher than average for the three months), putting the region on course for its worst summer since 1954.

A survey conducted at the weekend by East of England Tourism found 62pc of businesses in the region thought the weather was likely to seriously affect performance over the year.

However, 43pc of those surveyed reported an increase in visitor numbers during July, compared to 32pc reporting a drop.

Forty per cent said they expected visitor numbers to increase in August, September and October compared to 38pc who thought they would drop.

Scott Dolling, destination marketing manager of the Suffolk Tourism Partnership, said the poor summer would no doubt have a knock-on effect on visitor spend in Suffolk.

“Our focus must be on influencing the situation going forward,” he said.

Mr Blowers said for some reason, the jet stream (a narrow belt of upper winds six miles above the earth usually between Scotland and Iceland) has moved directly over the UK.

Instead of moving jet streams away, Mr Blowers said they were being pushed directly over the UK.

“It's extremely rare to get depressions controlling the weather for four months without a single break,” he said.

“It has been one of the worst summers in the last 40 years and possibly since 1954.”

“We are in the wrong place for good summers. We are too far north.”

The rest of the week is expected to be much the same as yesterday.

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