Region relishing warmer temperatures

SUFFOLK and Essex sizzled in hours of unseasonal sunshine yesterday, prompting thousands of people to flock to the region's tourist hotspots. Temperatures touched 62F (17C) as tourist attractions enjoyed a bumper day of trade and sunseekers soaked up the first warm glow of spring.

SUFFOLK and Essex sizzled in hours of unseasonal sunshine yesterday, prompting thousands of people to flock to the region's tourist hotspots.

Temperatures touched 62F (17C) as tourist attractions enjoyed a bumper day of trade and sunseekers soaked up the first warm glow of spring.

While the day was not quite the hottest of the year so far - February 1 reached 64F (18C) - the temperature was some way ahead of the seasonal average.

Ken Blowers, EADT weatherman, said: “It's been so good because we've had continuous sunshine, and I expect there will be nine hours of it by the end of the day.


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“Nine hours of sunshine is very good - at this time of year we'd expect around five to six hours.

“In terms of temperature, it would normally be about 53F (12C) in the middle of April - so 62F (17C) is much higher than it should be.

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“It would have been even warmer, but we've got a south-easterly wind which is blowing off the cold North Sea.”

But the tourism hotspots were not complaining - the sun-soaked day drew hordes of people out of their homes, with families especially jumping at the chance for an Easter holiday outing.

Paul Rejckmans, manager of the Go-Ape centre in Thetford Forest, said around 200 people were swinging through the trees yesterday.

He added: “It's been surprisingly busy. There's been a big increase in the number of people coming to not only Go-Ape but also to High Lodge and the weather has definitely helped that.

“People seem to wait for the weather forecast before coming along - so we're hoping for a few more days of sunshine.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Colchester Zoo said that around 6,000 people had streamed through its doors.

She added: “The weather has been perfect and it's definitely made an impact in terms of bringing people out to the zoo.

“The sun is out and there's a lovely gentle breeze - it's done the job. We've had queues of many miles, with people waiting around 45 minutes to get in.”

And Heather Stevenson, visitor services manager at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, said the popular attraction had seen some 500 visitors pass through.

She added: “I certainly think the weather has played a big part - there's been an awful lot of people around.

“We've had two guided walks and they've both been full over capacity. There's a lot of families and children about.”

As for the future, Mr Blowers said: “The future outlook is much the same - it will go on being warm this week then towards the weekend it will turn more unsettled but it looks as though the temperature will keep up.

“As for the summer, the people who claim to be long-term forecasters say it's going to be awful - but as far as I'm concerned there's no-one on earth who can say that for certain."

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