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Balmy days head towards autumn

Temperatures teetered at 30C (86F) as September's summer heat prepared to give way to autumnal weather.

Much of the south east of England enjoyed balmy conditions around the late-20s on Thursday, with the mercury reaching 29.9C in the village of Frittenden in Kent by lunchtime.

The rest of England and Wales were treated to temperatures of between 23C (73.4F) and 25C (77F), although parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland have had to settle for a cool but dry day.

But forecasters have warned sun worshippers to wrap up from tomorrow, when a band of unsettled weather will make it feel as though the curtain has fallen on the British summer season.

Sean Penston, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "We've had a good, dry and warm start to September, with temperatures in the mid-to-late 20s across the country. But the weather will get more unsettled going into the weekend. There will be some fairly heavy and prolonged periods of rain - a complete change on what we've had recently."

Temperatures could drop significantly in the next few days - to around 17C (62.6F) in some places.

Much of the country will experience showers, with heavy downpours in north east Wales and north west England expected to see up to 35mm of rainfall in 24 hours from 6am on Friday

News of a change in weather comes as thousands of music lovers arrive on the Isle of Wight for the start of the Bestival music festival.

Mr Penston said on Thursday: "There will be showers tomorrow at the festival, with some sunny spells and further showers on Saturday.

"It will likely be dry on Sunday, but it is definitely worth packing the wellies. Things are going to start getting a bit more autumnal from this weekend."

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