Rain and storms hamper tourist trade

IT'S not the summer the weathermen predicted - and it's not the one the recession-hit tourist trade was wanting.

IT'S not the summer the weathermen predicted - and it's not the one the recession-hit tourist trade was wanting.

Met men said it would be a long, hot dry summer, the best for three or four years.

But after a heatwave in June which got everyone's hopes up, July has been changeable with storms and downpours -and the outlook is for more of the same.

At Felixstowe, seafront traders had been hoping with “staycation” being heavily promoted, people would holiday at home with the of chance enjoying bucket and spade days out to the seaside.

Stan Harris, who runs the amusements and kiosk along the promenade in Sea Road, said his business has been down 50 per cent on many days.

“Look at today - it's lashing it down, it's midday and I haven't even opened up yet and can't decide whether it's even worth it,” he said yesterday.

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“We are not going to sell many ice creams and buckets and spades when it's like this. It's absolutely ridiculous.

“Back in May it looked very promising, but even in June when we had that hot weather all we got on the seafront was fog, and most of July has just been awful. It is heartbreaking.”

While day-trippers may look out of their windows and not bother to make the journey to the coast, holidaymakers are left soggy and miserable.

Geoff Harvey, who runs the Grafton guest house in Sea Road, said: “The weather doesn't really affect our trade because people coming on holiday book up months in advance so throughout the summer, whether it rains, snows or hails, we have people staying.

“In fact, this year we have got more tourists than we have ever had, especially foreign visitors coming here because the Euro is so strong against the pound.”

How is you business faring this summer? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

UNLIKE the Met Office, Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers is not one to make long range forecasts.

“It is always a very dangerous business - you cannot look that far ahead because it changes so much,” he said.

“Last autumn the Met Office said it would be a mild winter and it turned out to be a very cold one.

“Then they said summer would be warm and dry and we can all see that it isn't. It was unsettled in 2007 and 2008 and now we have the same changeable weather for a third year running.”

Mr Blowers said the pattern was known as European Monsoon. One of the key reasons for the changeable weather is the position of the jet stream this summer.

For a good warm and dry season, it needs to be well to the north of the country, dragging in high pressure over us.

However, it has either been over the country or to the south, creating depressions with cool moist air dominating with the nice weather further south.