Wet bank holiday expected for those who stay

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The Independent Online

The Bank Holiday getaway was in full flow last night with those heading for foreign destinations likely to get the best of the weather.

The Bank Holiday getaway was in full flow last night with those heading for foreign destinations likely to get the best of the weather.

As main routes out of cities became clogged with cars, forecasters were warning those staying in the UK to expect widespread wet conditions by Bank Holiday Monday.

Motoring organisations also spoke of congestion hotspots, while those letting the train take the strain were having to contend with one of the biggest closures on the west coast main line for 40 years.

The lucky ones appeared to be the thousands flocking abroad. The airports operator BAA said it expected 1.7 million passengers to pass through its seven UK airports over the four-day bank holiday period. Top destinations include New York, Majorca, Rome and Dublin.

The AA said traffic would be very heavy over the weekend, with thousands of football fans travelling to Cardiff for the Division One play-off final and up to 80,000 people expected to drive to Newquay in Cornwall for the Run to the Sun Volkswagen Festival.

Routes to south-west of England and Wales are likely to be exceptionally busy throughout the weekend, and the AA said it was preparing to deal with up to 50,000 breakdowns from Friday to Tuesday.

A survey from the insurance company Direct Line revealed that more than 12 million cars could be on the roads over the holiday period.

The west coast main line closure between London and the Midlands is due to essential Network Rail work which is part of the multibillion-pound upgrade of the line. Among those affected are those travelling to Birmingham International station for the Motor Show at the NEC. Passengers travelling from the south are having to take alternative, but less direct, services on Chiltern Railways.

PA WeatherCentre said East Anglia and south-east England would be getting dry and bright weather on Saturday morning but cloud and rain would affect most areas by later in the day.

There was expected to be rain in north-east Scotland and East Anglia on Sunday, with most other areas bright with the risk of showers. A WeatherCentre spokeswoman said Bank Holiday Monday would be wet and stormy. The top temperature today would be 20-21C(68-70F), with 18-20C (64-68F) tomorrow and 15-18C (59-64F) on Monday.

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