Record numbers head for the coast to enjoy the final days of summer

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The Independent Online
IN TRUE bank holiday tradition, rain arrived over much of the country yesterday as families headed for the coast, hoping the hot spell would continue through the late summer holiday.

The showers failed to have much impact on the summer drought, but a spokesman at the London Weather Centre said: "It is fair to say we have seen the back of the August heat wave. Temperatures will be average for this time of year - 22C today and down to about 20C on Monday."

Parts of Northern Ireland and west Scotland had drizzle yesterday morning, and the wetter weather was expected to reach London and the South last night.

While there was too little rain to have any impact on parched lawns, it was sufficient to bring added hazards to holiday travel.

The long, hot spell has left a layer of dust, dirt, rubber and oil on the road surface.

The AA said drizzle would turn this into a slippery film if there was not enough rain to wash it away: "It is as bad as driving on ice - stopping distances will double."

AA Roadwatch said roads were "pretty normal" yesterday with no major congestion anticipated: "It has been quiet. There were some hold-ups but they were due to accidents. A lot of people probably left on Friday evening."

After the heat wave of the past few weeks, record numbers were expected to make the most of the last holiday before Christmas.