Britain enjoys sizzling weather – and we get a hot weekend too

Bring the BBQ’s out, tidy up the garden and dig out the suncream, because Britain is getting some of the hottest days of the year so far.

And even better the hot weather is set to continue into the weekend, reaching up to 22C (72F). Actually warmer than many places in the Mediterranean, including Malta, Barcelona and Athens.

Many Britons are expected to travel to the beach this weekend to take advantage of the glorious sunshine. Usually known for its showers, this year April is seeing way above average temperatures – we usually struggle to get temperatures above 12C (54F).

Following one of the driest March’s on record for more than 100 years, April looks set to follow the trend with increasing temperatures.

Even the normally cool Aberdeen in Scotland will reach around 20C (68F), the same temperature Athens and Barcelona will see over the next few days.

THE FIVE-DAY FORECAST

Today: Starting cloudy, particularly around coastal areas in the south west, but sun will spread north throughout the day with highs of 19C.

Friday: Another very warm day with less cloud than Thursday and temperatures across the country again reaching 19C.

Saturday: Starting cloudy but quickly clearing to bring sun by midday and temperatures reaching 21C, the second highest of the week.

Sunday: Temperatures still warm in central parts but more cloud and showers in parts of Wales. Dry and warm for the rest of the UK, but cooler than previous days.

Source: the Met Office

Lucky for everyone waiting for the weekend, although the temperatures will decrease today and tomorrow, they will be back up reaching 20C (70F) and above on Saturday.

Met Office forecaster Andrew Sibley said: ‘Yesterday was possibly be the warmest day this year, with warm, dry weather and sunny spells across much of England, Wales and eastern Scotland.

‘It warms up again for the weekend, with temperatures in the upper 60s or higher on both Saturday and Sunday.

‘There will be sunny spells and broken clouds, although one or two localised sharp showers late on Saturday.’

Forecaster Brian Gaze, of The Weather Outlook, said: ‘The mostly dry weather should continue into the weekend, which looks promising if you’re planning to have a barbecue.

‘It looks a decent day for the Grand National at Aintree, which should be run under fine and dry skies. With a bit of luck, it will feel more like summer than spring.’

Travel organisations confirm Japan is safe

Travelers to Japan have been reassured after two major air travel organizations quelled fears over health and transportation worries.

The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association has received confirmation from six United Nations agencies monitoring the impact of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that there are no threats to human health or any major disruption to air travel to or within the country.

The UN statement, released on April 2, also ruled out the need for passengers arriving from Japan to undergo screening for radiation at air or seaports around the world.

The joint statement was issued by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Tourism Organization.

Continuous monitoring around Japan’s airports confirms that radiation levels are well within safe limits from a health perspective, according to the organizations’ studies.

Travelers visiting Japan by air have been advised to consult a dedicated website established by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau: http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/flyjapan_en/ for further updates.

Giovanni Bisingani, director general and CEO of IATA said that safety was always the top priority.

“The transparent and continuous monitoring of the situation has allowed Japanese and international authorities to confirm that Japan’s airports remain open and safe for travelers and transport workers,” he said.

“It is important that governments and industry respond to the challenges of this crisis with best practices supported by expert advice.

“We are reassured that the UN is not recommending screening measures for passengers coming from Japan”.

That assessment was supported by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which also concurred there is no threat to travelers from nuclear radiation from the Fukushima plant, 220 km north of Tokyo.

The organization, based in Montreal, said: “Radioactive material from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant is gradually spreading outside Japan into the global atmosphere but at extremely low concentrations that do not present health or transportation safety hazards.”

It also confirmed that all airports in Japan except Sendai, which was badly damaged when the March 11 tsunami swept out of the Pacific Ocean, are operating normally for both domestic and international flights.

Freya Leng

 

Boeing says 737 planes must be checked for fatigue cracks

Boeing is to advise airlines around the world to inspect older models of the 737 for fatigue cracks.

The US government is expected to order emergency inspections and safety regulators in other countries will make similar orders.

This comes after a Southwest Airlines plane had to make an emergency landing in Arizona on Friday.

A 5ft tear opened in the fuselage 20 minutes after take-off resulting in a sudden loss of pressure.

Luckily no-one was hurt and the plane landed at a military base.

The Texas based airline discovered the problem in the fuselage during an investigation following the incident.

A company spokesman for Boeing said: “Boeing is committed to ensuring safe flight and to supporting our customers.”

A directive is expected from the US Federal Aviation Administration instructing inspection of the fuselage in the older models of 737-300.

Over 900 of the aircraft are used world-wide, and the low operating costs of the 737s make them a favorite with low cost airlines.

But it is thought only 175 of the heavily used planes will need to be inspected.

Easy Jet operates 3 of the 737 aircraft and budget airline BMI baby uses 12.

BMI baby said it would be working with Boeing to see if action was required.

Boeing said: “The 737 … is based on a key Boeing philosophy of delivering added value to airlines with reliability, simplicity and reduced operating and maintenance costs.

“Advanced technology winglets allow airlines to save on fuel, extend its range, carry more payload and reduce engine maintenance costs.”

And Carolyn Corvi, head of Boeing’s 737 programme, added: “The newly redesigned 737s weigh less than the A320 and therefore require lower engine thrust.

“This means the 737s use less fuel, and have lower engine maintenance costs and lower navigation and landing fees.”

The fuselage is the main body of the aircraft that holds crew, passengers or cargo and often the engine.

Sarah Taylor