Region braced for Easter snow

IT is one of the busiest weekends of the year when thousands of visitors flock to tourist attractions across the region.

Craig Robinson

IT is one of the busiest weekends of the year when thousands of visitors flock to tourist attractions across the region.

But this time around the Bank Holiday celebrations could turn into something of a damp squib with forecasters predicting an onslaught of wintry showers and below average temperatures.

Snow, sleet, hail and rain are all expected to sweep across the region over the next four days - prompting fears that it will keep many of us indoors.

Last night tourism chiefs remained in buoyant mood but weather experts said the outlook was bleak, with icy Arctic blasts set to move in from the north of the UK.

Emma Coombs, from Weatherquest, said today would be quite breezy with frequent showers.

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“Particularly in eastern parts of the region, nearer the coast, you are less likely to see any brightness,” she said. “Overnight we will see increasingly wintry showers - hail, snow and sleet. It's not until Saturday that it will get really cold when we have air coming down from the Arctic.

“It's likely to bring snow showers with some sunshine in between but it could accumulate if it falls for longer periods. That's when we could see some of the white stuff.”

Ms Coombs said the temperature over the weekend was likely to be around 5C or 6C - compared to the average for this time of year which is 8C.

“On Sunday we're still likely to see some periods of sleet or snow - in fact in the morning you could see a covering of about two or three centimetres,” she said. “Its still going to be cold into Monday and there will be further wintry showers, with a mixture of sleet and snow continuing. Unfortunately it looks like a rather unsettled weekend.”

However tourism chiefs remain confident and are urging members of the public not to be put off by the pessimistic outlook.

Matt Upson, director of the Suffolk Garden Show, which starts today at Trinity Park, Ipswich, said: “Its business as usual - we will be able to cope with whatever comes our way. Many of our 280 exhibits are undercover and in a heated tent so there are no excuses.”

The show, which ends on Monday, features garden and lifestyle exhibits from as far away as Holland and there is also a food hall and ice skating rink as well as a number of other attractions for children.

Scott Dolling, marketing manager at the Suffolk Tourism Partnership, said: “The predicted weather for the Easter bank holiday isn't great news for the tourism industry, but the experience last year was that indoor attractions and town centres benefited when the weather was poor, so there's still plenty to do.

“Suffolk aims to position itself as a year round destination so if people have friends or relatives visiting, we encourage them to call into their local tourist information centre for ideas, attractions and events.”

§ This weekend sees the launch of a London Underground campaign aimed at encouraging visitors from the capital to visit Suffolk. Destinations such as the coast and countryside, Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich will all be featured along with various hotels and attractions including Southwold pier, Stoke by Nayland Golf Club and Ufford Park.

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