Summer will be back!

STEPHEN PULLINGER Just when the region's hard-pressed tourism businesses thought summer had finally arrived, their spirits are once again slipping into a deep depression (or Atlantic low pressure system to be exact).

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Just when the region's hard-pressed tourism businesses thought summer had finally arrived, their spirits are once again slipping into a deep depression (or Atlantic low pressure system to be exact).

However, although exceptional for August, local weather experts insist the gusty winds and persistent rain forecast for today and tomorrow do not spell the end of summer - as some pundits have been predicting.

Chris Bell, a forecaster for the UEA-based weather service, Weatherquest, said that by Monday, temperatures should again be soaring above 21C, scotching television reports that we have seen the last of temperatures above 20C for the rest of the school holidays.

He said: "Today will be wet and windy, but nothing really drastic in the east. Wales, Cumbria and south-west Scotland could see an inch of rain and 50mph gusts, but we are unlikely to see more than 15mm of rain in our region, with winds gusting 30 to 40mph on the coast and 15-20mph inland.

"Tomorrow, there will still be quite a few blustery showers but some brightness in between. However, we will stay in a colder flow up to the weekend with temperatures no better than 19C."

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Mr Bell said the weather picture for the East was still uncertain for the weekend, but by Monday it looked as though high pressure would be building up again with temperatures rising to 22C or 23C.

He said there was no suggestion that summer was on the way out prematurely, and one positive sign was that the jet stream had returned to its normal position - during June and July it had moved south and kept fine-weather high pressure systems south of Britain.

The eventual return of better weather will be little comfort for organisers of Cromer's carnival week who had been keeping their fingers crossed for a continuation of the belated fine spell.

After children's day today, tomorrow will be the big carnival day with a Red Arrows display scheduled for noon and the parade at 7pm.

With indomitable spirit, carnival chairman Tony Shipp said the programme would go ahead as planned - but cautioned that tomorrow's displays by the Red Arrows and Army freefall parachute team could be affected by high winds or low cloud.

After a scorching start to the season, only to be followed by the frustration of record rain in June and July, Albert Jones, managing-director of Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach - one of the region's biggest attractions - remained in upbeat mood.

"I am just hoping this week's weather is not as bad as has been forecast. But the Pleasure Beach will still be open and there will still be rides people can go on. My advice will be to wrap up accordingly," he said.

Meanwhile, farmers hoping to earn revenue from their seasonal maize mazes are unperturbed by the forecast of rain this week. David Bakewell, who has a two-and-a-half acre maze at Norfolk Shire Horse Centre, West Runton, said while wet weather in June and July had delayed the growth of the maize - delaying the maze opening - it was now close to its 7ft maximum height.

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