“Winter” starts with temperatures in the 70s!

SUFFOLK: Weekend temperatures in the county are expected to hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit – but thoughts have already turned to winter.

On the day that the southern European heatwave is due to hit England, Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee was today due at the Salt Barn at the council’s Phoenix House depot in Goddard Road to assess the supplies for the cold months ahead.

He is due to see the 6,000 tonnes of salt that has been stored ready for use on the county’s roads if the weather does its worse again.

The Phoenix House depot opened last year to replace the former Great Blakenham depot, which is set to be the site of the county’s new waste incinerator.

Within weeks of it opening, Suffolk suffered one of the sharpest – and earliest – winters for years as the pre-Christmas freeze gripped the country.

This year we are enjoying an Indian summer which will last until the weekend – although forecasters at Norwich-based Weatherquest expect temperatures to drop at the beginning of next week.

Phil Garner, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said temperatures would peak tomorrow or Friday at around 26C.

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He said: “It’s looking very settled indeed although today we’re going to pick up more of a breeze. But it will remain fine with plenty of sunshine and it will stay warm.

“Quite often we have warm weather in September itself, so it’s not unusual. But if you wanted to call it a heatwave that would be a reasonable description.

“It’s the old traditional harvest time. September used to be when the harvest was aimed at because it was the most settled time of year for picking the crops.”

The UEA-based weather experts do not publish long-range forecasts for the region, but other web-based weather forecasting services have warned that we could have another cold winter in the offing.

If they are right the 6,000 tonnes of rock-salt in the barn at Phoenix House will be vital to keep the roads clear during the winter.

Last year the salt was needed early – the cold spell hit during the middle of November and gripped the country until almost Christmas. December 20 was the coldest day in Suffolk since 1981.

But once the festive season arrived the mercury started rising – and January and February were comparatively mild.

Mr Bee is to be joined by county councillor with responsibility for transport, Guy McGregor, at today’s visit to Phoenix House.

They will meet staff planning the military-style operation that is needed to keep the county’s roads clear during the winter.

Ipswich’s streets are kept clear by a team of borough gritters based at the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate in the town.

n how do you think the county copes in cold weather? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


TEMPERATURES on Saturday are expected to hit the mid-70s but the county’s household waste recycling centres are moving to winter hours because it is October 1.

That means the 11 sites, including those at Portman Walk in Ipswich, Foxhall, and Felixstowe, will close at 4pm Monday to Saturday rather than 5pm.

However the county is urging people to continue to use them during the winter.

Council spokeswoman for waste disposal Lisa Chambers said: “During the autumn and winter months, we tend to see fewer visits to household waste centres.

“But come rain or shine, I can assure people that they are still there offering the same service as they do in the summer.

“Whether it’s one of Suffolk County Council’s 11 facilities or the six operated by our community partners, our message is simple. The sites are open and ready to recycle your unwanted goods.”