TORRENTIAL rain and high winds have been a blow to Weymouth traders over Easter – but business owners remain positive ahead of summer.

A sunny Good Friday gave way to a wet and windy Easter weekend as Storm Katie battered Dorset, turning the end of the Bank Holiday into a washout. And the weather has remained unsettled since then.

The sudden switch from beach to brolly weather proved difficult for a number of local enterprises that rely on the tourist trade.

“Weather is massive factor for us,” said Daren Deadman, of The Boat cafe on the Esplanade. “The days that were nice, we were busy, so it was an average Easter for us.”

Carl Walmsley, manager at the Electric Palace attraction, said: “We suffered a little with the weather and it just dampened it a bit. When it was raining, people did not go on the rides, but they did come inside.”

Families did, however, manage to enjoy the Easter break in Weymouth when the sun was shining.

Sarah Davies, 34, from Bath, who brought her children Ralph, 10, Theo, nine, and Oonagh, six, for a short break to Weymouth this week, said: “I have been coming to Weymouth since I was a little girl and now I bring my own children.

“We always come to the beach when we are visiting. I love the old seaside feel of the town around the beach and harbour and the locals are so friendly. I hope we will be coming to Weymouth for many years to come.”

Despite the variable Easter period, shop owners are positive about the year ahead.

Dave Abbott, owner of seaside store Napoli on the Beach, said: “Easter Saturday and Sunday were write-offs because of the wind, but other than that, there were encouraging signs for the summer.”

Mr Deadman added: “I think it will pick up for the summer, especially with the security concerns about going abroad.”

Peter Hawkins, who runs Cactus Tea Rooms and Bistro, said that his large indoor seating area meant that he was almost weather-proof during the worst of the weekend’s downpours.

He added: “There were a lot of people about over Easter and I think Weymouth now is becoming a really good attraction with the regenerated seafront.

“Everything is looking good and we are very busy.

“Our season gets better and better.”

Cllr Jason Osborne, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s spokesman for tourism, said: “On the Good Friday, it was fantastic and it was great to see Weymouth coming out of hibernation with a real energy and buzz to the day.

“Unfortunately, the weather took a bit of a turn, but it did not seem to dampen the spirits.

“As briefholder for tourism, I am always optimistic and when the weather is nice; people come from near and far.”