As Britain bakes Plymouth puts road gritters on standby

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The Independent Online

Weather records were broken for September yesterday as the mini-heatwave continued to bake Britain.

But one city announced its gritting lorries will be on standby for snow from tomorrow, despite the hot weather. Plymouth City Council said that because of the damage caused by the last two harsh winters, its seven gritters would be on standby for the next six months to keep main roads open. Kevin Wigens, the council's cabinet member for transport, said: "Our salt store is full and our gritters will be ready to go from 1 October. "Saturday's event will reassure people about the city's preparations for winter."

Temperatures more than 10C above average for this time of year were recorded up and down the UK. Finningley in Lincolnshire topped the chart with a peak of 29C (84F). The previous record for 29 September was 27.8C, which was recorded in York in 1895. London enjoyed a sweltering 28.1C, recorded at Kew Gardens, while the seaside village of Weybourne in Norfolk basked in 27.1C.

The balmy conditions are likely to continue into the weekend, and sun-seekers are taking the opportunity to head to the coast. Tom Tobler, forecaster for MeteoGroup, said the weather would remain largely the same across the UK before it cools off on Tuesday with a chance of showers.

Travelodge reported record occupancy levels for the weekend, particularly at seaside towns.

Five-day forecast

Today England and Wales, warm, dry and sunny. High of 28C. Sunny spells in Scot- land and Northern Ireland, high of 23C

Saturday England and Wales, sunny and warm, high of 28-29C, Scotland and NI, rain but brighter later, high of 20C.

Sunday Wales and, Midlands and South, hazy sun, 27C. Northern England, rain, 22C. Scotland and NI, bright spells, 17C.

Monday Southern UK, dry and some sunshine, 24C. Rest of UK, outbreaks of rain, wind picking up, 18C.

Tuesday Across UK, unsettled, 14-18C.