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April showers? We're officially in a drought! WEATHER: After more than 15 days without rain, experts declare ...

Byline: By Alan Harris and Sarah Hazelwood

FORGET April showers - Coventry is so warm and dry it's officially a drought!

Last week the city basked in temperatures hotter than the Costa del Sol, peaking at 22C (72F).

And the dry spell shows no sign of abating, with no immediate rainfall predicted to relieve the situation - and another warm, sunny weekend predicted.

But bosses at water firm Severn Trent are not worried - and nor are city businesses and beauty spots who are enjoying a boom in barbecue and ice cream sales.

Steve Jackson, of Bablake Weather Station, in Coundon Road, Radford, said: "An absolute drought in the UK is defined as a period of at least 15 consecutive days without rain."

He said early April had not only been warm and sunny but also very dry - and on Thursday the Coventry and Warwickshire region was technically in a drought because that was the 15th day without rain.

He added: "There is still no imminent sign of any rain to relieve the situation, with this settled spell of weather persisting right through the coming weekend, though it may become more unsettled by the middle of next week, with some much-needed rain.

"Even beyond this, however, some forecast models are suggesting that it will be dry and warm again by the end of the month into early May."

A spokesman for Severn Trent said reservoir levels remained healthy for the foreseeable future and there was no suggestion of imposing a hosepipe ban.

He said: "Our reservoir levels are what they should be, being about 90 per cent full, and we are enjoying the good weather like everyone else."

Businesses and tourist spots in Coventry have been enjoying the spin-off in trade during the unseasonably warm and dry month so far.

Sam Dowdall, visitors services manager at Coombe Country Park, said: "Last week was our busiest Easter for a long time and we have sold a lot of ice creams. It's generally been very busy."

DIY giant B&Q is seeing early sales in garden furniture and accessories as the city enjoys spring barbecues.

A spokesman for the store in Holyhead Road, Coundon, said: "We are doing very well and we're showing an increase upon other years."

Judith Stanley, director of Coventry Activity Toys Centre, in Northbrook Road, Coundon, Coventry, said demand for outdoor toys had been higher than usual for April.

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ANOTHER CHORE... Organic gardener Nicole Weber gets watering at Ryton Organic Gardens due to the lack of rain. Picture: Joe Bailey DJ200407DRAU2
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 21, 2007
Words:422
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