Whether the weather is sunny or not

IT'S the sunniest spot on the east coast and one of the driest in Britain – but you would never know it from watching the TV weather forecasts.Felixstowe people wax lyrical about their resort's special micro-climate, and then vent their frustration at not being able to tell the world.

IT'S the sunniest spot on the east coast and one of the driest in Britain - but you would never know it from watching the TV weather forecasts.

Felixstowe people wax lyrical about their resort's special micro-climate, and then vent their frustration at not being able to tell the world.

Often it can be bucketing down all day 12 miles away in Ipswich, but venture on to the Felixstowe peninsula and ahead of you there are clear skies and sunshine, and people licking ice creams on the beach and enjoying walks on the prom.

But now the resort can tell everyone about its wonderful weather, thanks to a new weather station which has been set up on the roof of the Tourist Information Centre on the seafront.


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The equipment gathers information on sunshine, temperature, pressure and rainfall and sends it straight into a computer so it can be viewed on the internet, and is updated every 15 minutes.

It means in future TV weather forecasters can have direct access to the information and hopefully highlight the resort's record hours of sunshine.

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Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said the resort had an average of 1,720 hours of sunshine a year - more than many towns which already have weather stations, such as Clacton, Hunstanton, Cromer, Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Its average rainfall of 21.2 inches a year was the fourth lowest in the country.

"Felixstowe is the sunniest resort on the east coast between the Humber and the Thames estuary and I am sure that it is frequently the sunniest place in the UK," said Mr Blowers.

"Unfortunately, until now, we have not been able to say that for sure, but from now on Felixstowe can tell the world."

Efforts had been made over many years to fund a weather station. A few years back Suffolk Coastal had £3,500 in its budget but had to cut it to make savings.

Now the equipment has been provided at a cost of just £760 thanks to improved technology - with the money provided equally by funfair owner Charlie Manning, amusements and pier owner Stan Threadwell, and Chamber of Trade.

Mr Manning said: "This is a very positive step forward. We have been pushing for a weather station for several years because it would be great to get a mention sometimes on TV - we know when we have had a great day's weather but we need other people to know so they consider coming here.

"Felixstowe has its own micro-climate and people say that's because it has the Rivers Deben and Orwell either side, but I don't know if that's true."

Doreen Savage, chairman of the Felixstowe resort regeneration steering group, thanked all who contributed to the cost.

"I think it is marvellous and so easy to use - now we want to hear Felixstowe mentioned on TV weather bulletins. As a seaside town, it's no good having great weather if you cannot tell people about it," she said.

Resort co-ordinator Michelle Barr said: "Not only do we have great summers, but Felixstowe is warmer and drier in winter, too, than places inland and we hope that will encourage people to visit out of season."

If sponsorship could be found, it is also planned to put back the Sunshine Board in the seafront gardens.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/leisure/visiting

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