Heatwave brings worst traffic jams

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The Independent Online
Britain saw the worst weekend traffic of the summer yesterday when thousands of motorists headed for the coasts to escape soaring temperatures. Today is expected to be worse.

Motorways were jammed. The M5 was solid southbound for 14 miles through Gloucestershire and Somerset for much of the morning, said an RAC spokesman, and there was a six-mile tailback further down the motorway in Devon as holidaymakers headed for the beaches.

The M3 was also solid through Hampshire; and the fast 303 trunk road to the west was at walking pace in both directions past Stonehenge. Even traffic on the London orbital M25 was slow-moving as three cars on fire closed two clockwise lanes between junctions 15 and 16.

Roads to some popular resorts were expected to be clogged again today, with long queues as families head for sea breezes. The AA appealed for drivers to remain calm. "You will get there in the end. Stay patient and try to relax," a spokesman said.

The weekend got off to a misty and foggy start in many places but forecasters have predicted temperatures of 90F (32C) today - the hottest since mid- July. The heatwave led to warnings of swarms of jellyfish floating ashore in Norfolk. Lifeguards at Gorleston beach treated seven people for stings after south-easterly winds drove the jellyfish into shallow water.

The whole country should be warm except for north-western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where it will be cooler. In the West Country there may be clouds and some showers.