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Sunseekers warned to be prepared

The millions of people preparing for a long weekend get-away should pack for every eventuality and leave early - all signs suggest this will be a typical British Bank Holiday.

On what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year, some 16 million cars are expected to take to the roads.

Meanwhile, though the weather is set to improve, light winds and scattered showers are likely to become the theme of the weekend.

But festival goers have already shown themselves undeterred by the combined threat of rain and road chaos. Hundreds of music lovers have already arrived - complete with wellies and waterproofs - to set up camp at Reading or Leeds.

And those looking forward to London's Notting Hill Carnival or the more outlandish World Gravy Wrestling Championship in Stacksteads, Lancashire, will be hoping to see more sunny spells than downpours - though both are predicted.

Forecaster Matt Dobson of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, predicted warmer temperatures would offer a welcome respite from the deluges of the last few days. And though parts of the country, including East Anglia, London and the South East, will wake up to cloud and rain on Saturday morning, he said this would ease off later in the day.

The South West will see the best of the weather during the long weekend, while temperatures are expected to be at their lowest in the northern reaches of Scotland.

"Quite a lot of places will see some sunshine over the bank holiday weekend," Mr Dobson said. "It's not going to be that warm so it will be worth taking a jacket in the evening if you are planning a BBQ or a picnic. But compared to the last few days, it's a much better picture."

And he said temperatures would be about average for this time of year, reaching 19 degrees in London and parts of the Midlands, possibly falling to around 14 degrees in the north-western regions.

On the roads, congestion is expected to start on Friday afternoon with an extended evening rush-hour. However, with many children in England only returning to school the week after next, traffic levels are expected to be lower than last year when the AA recorded 33,000 call-outs.

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