Children are returning to school this week after West Norfolk’s driest summer since 1995.
The borough has had only two-thirds of the expected summer rainfall. The wettest day of this summer had less than a third of the rainfall experienced on the wettest day of summer last year.
It has been a bumper season for the coast where visitor numbers have been high throughout the holidays.
The promenade at Hunstanton continued to be thronged with visitors this weekend with many enjoying the added bonus of a military vehicle display on the Green.
Angela Green, Hunstanton Tourist Information Centre manager, said: “The town has been very busy and all bed-and-breakfast accommodation has been full for many weeks now.”
Other forms of accommodation also appear to have done well.
Sophie Widdowson, of Deepdale Farm, Burnham Deepdale, said its 82 camping pitches have been booked up since the beginning of the summer.
The wettest day of summer this year was July 24 when 6.4mm of rain fell, compared to July 18 last year when there was 19.8mm.
The hottest temperature recorded in West Norfolk this year, was 32.6C on July 22 in Marham. It was a far cry from the minus 13.4C recorded in Marham on January 19. It has been the warmest summer since 2006.
Matt page, owner of Snettisham Beach chip shop and amusements, said it had been his best season for a number of years. He said: “At the weekends particularly we get a lot of people who say the traffic was so bad on the Hunstanton road that they thought they would come down here and once they do they tend to love it and come back.”
The summer weather hasn’t been too unkind to farmers either, according to Ed Lankfer, branch chairman for Downham and Southery NFU.
He said: “It was hard work last autumn when it was wet and we were trying to get seeds in the ground, then we had a long, cold spring and wondered whether we were ever going to get going, but the wheat seems to have done amazingly well and appeared from nowhere.
“My sugar beet doesn’t look to special but that’s why you have three or four crops. If one is down you hope the other will hold you up.”
It appears people have also taken care in the heat.
Hunstanton lifeboat has been called out 19 times since January this year. That figure is on a par with last year, which was down 30 per cent on the year before.
Geoff Needham, spokesman for Hunstanton lifeboat, said: “We hope it means people are getting the message. The RNLI has put a lot into promoting sea safety.
“There has certainly been a welcome decrease the number of rubber dinghies. Some people still bring them down but most are being sensible and have got them tied and adults are staying with them.”
Bawsey Pits, which usually attracts crowds of people to the shores of its lakes in fine weather, has remained closed since a double tragedy on July 16 when 41-year-old Ryan Pettengall, of Railways Road, Lynn and 16-year-old Umar Balogun, of north London, drowned.
Nigel Canham, spokesman for Sibelco, which owns the site, said: “The car park at Bawsey Pits remains closed and talks are still going with the authorities about the proper way forward.
“Clearly though the public still are using the park because there are several access points that can’t be shut off.
“As a result Sibelco staff continue to monitor the site on a regular basis but there has been a clear reduction in the number of people using the park.
“As far as we are aware people are not entering the water, which is a relief at least.”
Mr Canham said it was not possible to say when a decision about the future of the site would be reached.
n See Friday’s Lynn News for a picture special on the military vehicle display on the Green at Hunstanton on Sunday.