LONG-term weather forecasts suggest East Lancashire is set to enjoy the highest temperatures on record this summer.

A report penned by scientists at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, suggests that there’s a 75 per cent chance warmer Pacific water will lead to record temperatures this year throughout the country.

The high chance of hot weather has been attributed to an ‘El Niño’ where warm water deep in the Pacific rises to the surface.

It is part of a cycle called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

It occurs every four of five years and blows high amounts of heat into the atmosphere.

The promise of high temperatures has encouraged East Lancashire businesses to start preparing for a bumper summer.

Andrew Almond, manager at Beechwood Garden Centre in Blackburn, said: “We are hoping that the good weather that we have had for the most part recently will continue because it helps to bring people out into their gardens and into the centre. We are also keeping our fingers crossed for a good summer.

“We have been making sure that the centre is will stocked and that we have everything we need for a rush.”

Amanda Dowson, from Ribble Valley-based Mrs Dowsons Ice Cream, said: “We have already started stocking for the summer and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the warm weather lasts for a long time this summer.

“A couple of years ago the weather was very poor during the summer months and it made running the business hard work.

“Warm weather is good news for everyone and we have already extended our visitors centre at the farm to cater for more people coming this year.”

A spokeswoman from the Heart of Lancashire Tourism Association said: “We keep our fingers crossed each year for a cracking summer, because we know it brings a seasonal boost to tourism businesses and encourages more people to our beautiful countryside.

“Our businesses are pretty adaptable and respond quickly and imaginatively to good and bad weather conditions but there’s no doubt good weather puts everyone in a ‘let’s go out’ frame of mind.”