August? No, it's April!

by JAMES TOZER, Daily Mail

Warm air blown in from the Sahara produced temperatures higher than the August average yesterday - and forecasters say there is even better weather to come.

With this Easter weekend likely to be the hottest in nearly 20 years, motoring organisations are already warning of traffic jams on roads to the coast.

Temperatures reached 70f (21c) across Britain yesterday, with some inland areas recording 76f (24.4c).

Today and tomorrow are expected to be even warmer and most of us will continue to bask in the sunshine until Saturday at least.

The last time the Easter break was so warm was in 1984, when temperatures hit 79f (26c).

If the heatwave continues, the all-time record for April of 84f (29c) - set in 1949 - might be eclipsed.

Beach towns are expecting a bumper weekend because many people were reluctant to book holidays during the war in Iraq.

Those who are abroad may be regretting it now, as storm warnings were issued in Spain yesterday. The Costa Brava, Benidorm and Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca were all expecting downpours.

The top temperature in Crete was 59f (15c), in Palma 61f (16c) and in Cairo 73f (23c).


Beverly Ware, of Bournemouth Tourism, said yesterday: 'People are rushing to book into the town. Our Internet service is buzzing and people who want to come should do it quickly.

'No one can remember it being so busy in the run-up to an Easter weekend and hoteliers have been telling us how well they are doing.'

The AA, which expects up to 18million motorists to take to the roads over the weekend, predicted jams, particularly on Monday.

It is expected to remain hot in the South and East until Sunday, and in other areas until Monday.

Frank Saunders, of the Met Office, said: 'We're enjoying a lovely spell across almost the whole country and it will remain nice into the first half of the Easter weekend at least.

'To see temperatures like this in April is a once in every ten or 20 years event, so it's worth getting excited about.'


But the summery weather also has its downside, with swathes of moorland burnt to a crisp.

Water-carrying helicopters and hundreds of firefighters fought the towering flames that engulfed more than 1,000 acres of bone-dry moorland at Cliviger, near Burnley. Firemen said the blaze was started deliberately.

Hundreds more acres were lost near Chorley, Lancashire. And National Trust wardens at Marsden Moor, near Huddersfield, said 40 acres were left charred by a fire on Sunday.

Park authorities have asked visitors to take extreme care to avoid starting new fires.

Boots has changed the formula of one of its top-selling sunscreens amid skin allergy fears. The high street chain has removed a suspect ingredient from its Soltan Kids and Soltan Sun Sensitive creams, although not from other products in the range.

Concerns about the chemical preservative methyldibromo glutaronitrile-were first raised by Dr Ian White, of St John's Institute of Dermatology in London, last year.

He said those with sensitive skin could have reactions ranging from redness and irritation to swelling, itching and acute dermatitis.

Yet it is used in many products designed for sensitive skin.

Boots made no announcement about the change and is selling old stock alongside the new formula.

Consumers who want to avoid allergy risk will not be able to tell the bottles apart but will have to check the small print.

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