It’s a scorcher - but it won’t last long

SEARING temperatures in Suffolk and Essex topped those in many parts of the Mediterranean as families enjoyed the hottest weekend of the year so far.

The weekend’s weather brought a major boost to the tourism industry, particularly on the coast as people flocked to the seaside.

Experts say temperatures peaked at 26C (79F) in Suffolk – 10C higher than the average for this time of year.

Temperatures also stayed in the low-20s on the coast, resulting in thousands of people flocking to beaches and many taking their first dip in the sea for 2010.

Chris Bell, a forecaster for WeatherQuest said: “It has been the warmest weekend of the year so far.

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“Temperatures peaked at 26C at Santon Downham, on Saturday, and reached the same at Wattisham, on Sunday.

“Even in coastal areas we have seen temperatures reach 21C (70F) and that’s even in areas affected by strong sea breezes.

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“However, the temperature of the sea is only 10C (50F) right now so anyone who went for a swim will soon have cooled down.

“The average temperature for this time of year is about 16C (61F) so we have been well above the average over the weekend.”

Despite the blistering temperatures, there were no reports of any serious heat-related incidents in the region.

Ambulance chiefs issued a warning urging people to stay cool over the two days but later admitted they had no reports of serious incidents, aside from calls to people who had fainted. Coastguards in the region said they had been busier than normal but hadn’t been called to any major incidents.

However, fire crews from Felixstowe had to rush to a property in High Road, Trimley St Mary, yesterday afternoon to put out a barbecue which was on fire. The sunny weather was a boost for many people holding events over the weekend.

Among them was the Witnesham Primary School May Fayre on Saturday, and the Ipswich Food and Drink Festival in Christchurch Park.

Much of the UK experienced the warm weather with temperatures in several major British cities climbing into the high-20s, beating famously sunny European cities.

Norwich hit a high of 29C, (84F) well ahead of Rome on 26C, Madrid on 28.2C (82F) and Cannes on 23.4C (73F).

At zoos, keepers cooled down their animals using hoses, while the heat wave led to a surge in sales of ice cream and barbecue food.

However, the warm weather is set to come to an abrupt halt this week as temperatures nosedive and clouds reappear in the skies.

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