Summer has finally arrived, as Norfolk basks in a heatwave

Summer's here at last, with a mini-heatwave set to last all weekend.

Last week, it was too wet even for the ducks. Today temperatures are tipped to soar into the mid-20s, as East Anglia basks in some long-overdue sunshine.

'We can look forward to a cracking weekend,' said Jim Bacon, a forecaster with Norwich-based Weatherquest. 'It's going to be dry, it's going to be sunny.

'We've had a lot of cloud and mist around the coast recently but it's going to be clear as a bell, perfect weather. All in all, it's going to be a cracking outdoor weekend.'

Mr Bacon said a sea breeze would keep temperatures on the coast down to around 15C (59F), while those inland were expected to peak at 23 (73.3) - 24C (75.2F). The average for late May is around 15C.


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Mr Bacon added sun cream would be a must to avoid getting burned.

'People think they're not going to get burned because it's cool in the breeze but the sun's still strong and you'll need plenty of suncream if you don't want to end up looking like a Cromer crab or a Lowestoft lobster,' he said.

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While much of the coast was shrouded in a chilly mist earlier this week, crowds flocked to the town's beach and Victorian pier yesterday.

Matt Ansell, box office manager at Cromer Pier, said: 'When it's sunny it's like a magnet, people make a bee-line for the coast and part of the coast is the pier.

'When it's sunny it puts people in a holiday frame of mind and people adapt that caf� culture.

'They want to have a cup of tea, sit in the sunshine and make the best of it. We see an increase in trade from all areas of the pier.'

Two weeks ago, the Heritage Lottery Fund turned down an application for �7.4m to rebuild Hunstanton's pier, which blew down in the 1970s.

But the town and its beaches are expected to be packed all the same today, along with neighbouring Heacham, Holme and Brancaster, as thousands of tourists head for the seaside.

'It's absolutely glorious today, there's a lot of people on the beach,' said Hunstanton Mayor Elaine Clutton. 'It always looks good to me but in the sunshine it's even better.'

Hunstanton once vied with Eastbourne, in Sussex, for the title of Britain's sunniest seaside spot. A fortnight ago, it was colder than Siberia, as gales lashed the beach temperatures plummeted into low single figures.

Around the coast, the start of the summer season has been less busy than usual, thanks to frequent downpours.

Alan Beck, manager of French's Fish Shop, on Wells Quay, said: 'With the weather we've had over the past few weekends it's been quite quiet but we're expecting it to be really busy this weekend.'

Make the most of it while it lasts was the message from the forecasters, with colder, wetter weather tipped to return towsrds the end of the week.

But one person won't be joining the rush to the coast over the weekend. 'This particular weatherman's working,' said Mr Bacon, as temperatures soared into the 20s yesterday.

Dr Simina Stefanescu, consultant dermatologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, said those who do should stay out of the strongest sun around midday.

'If you do have to go out, wear light-coloured, lightweight clothing with long sleeves to avoid burning – and wear a hat with a brim.

'If you do plan on exposing your skin to sunlight be sure to apply sun cream of factor 30 or above – and check for the UVA protection. 'Too much sun can increase the risk of skin cancer dramatically – so look after your skin.'

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