ONE of Cheltenham's biggest annual events launched yesterday – the Literature Festival.
The 10-day extravaganza is set to see more than 600 of the world's thinkers, writers, actors and comedians entertain tens of thousands of people.
And organisers are determined that not even the forecast heavy rain will dampen enthusiasm for its record 126,000 ticket-holders.
Yesterday, people formed a long queue before writer Sebastian Faulks, who was in Cheltenham to talk about his latest novel A Possible Life.
Among them was Emily Davis, who said: "Everyone has heard of Birdsong, and it's one of my favourite books, but he is such an intelligent man; it's amazing seeing what he is going to come up with next."
Organisers at the festival said they were ready for the forecast downpours and possible localised flooding.
Amy Hulyer, PR manager for Cheltenham Festivals, said she did not anticipate any venues would have to be moved.
She said: "The majority of our venues have covered spaces for our customers to queue and stay dry.
"There are a few smaller venues which will not be able to protect the queues from the elements, but we do not expect the festival to be cancelled and advise everyone to wear appropriate clothing according to the weather.
"We have a really experienced team of staff monitoring the conditions and if we do need to make some changes then they will make everyone aware as they come into the venue areas.
"However, at present we do not expect any significant issues and hope that everyone enjoys themselves at this year's festival."
A Met Office spokesman said more downpours were expected tomorrow.
"Even relatively low rainfall could cause a problem because after such a lot of rain at the end of September there is still a lot of water in the ground," he said. "With rain on Friday and then more on Sunday, it is the cumulative effect that could be a problem."
A break from the downpours is expected today, with temperatures dipping as the skies clear.
Ground frosts are expected tomorrow morning as the mercury drops to one degree Celsius in the North and two degrees Celsius in the South.
The heavy rains are expected to continue into next week.
Firefighters in Cheltenham were called out in the early hours of yesterday to flooding which affected the electrics at a property in Caernarvon Road in Up Hatherley.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service later confirmed the flooding was caused by heavy rain.
Fire chiefs warned drivers to err on the side of caution with the likelihood of standing water remaining on many of the county's smaller roads.
Highs of 13C (55F) are expected for today with a cool night-time temperature of 7C (44F); tomorrow, highs are expected to be 14C (57F) with a night-time temperature of 10C (50F).
On Monday, temperatures will meet 13C, but gusts of wind could make it feel cooler.
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