Questions have been raised in the wake of Storm Babet as a Suffolk leader has said many were left 'shocked' by its unanticipated devastation. 

Writing in his column today, councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said that more than a month’s worth of average October rainfall for Suffolk fell within a 24-hour period.

Mr Hicks said the coming weeks will see "questions asked of the way Storm Babet was anticipated and whether anything could have been done to lessen the impact", and an investigation will take place in due course. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Framlingham during the floodFramlingham during the flood (Image: Kris Wolton)

"It is fair to say that the devastation caused by Storm Babet has shocked many," he wrote.

"The Met Office had issued a fairly typical yellow weather warning for rain in Suffolk (the next warning being amber and then red, as was seen in Scotland and the north east).

"However, the amount of rain was more than the Met Office forecast. More than 75mm of rain fell on some areas of the county from Thursday night into Friday, which has less than a 1% chance of happening each year. 

"This is more than a month’s worth of average October rainfall for Suffolk in just 24 hours." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County CouncilMatthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council (Image: Newsquest)

According to Mr Hicks, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service attended more than 600 call outs and highways staff assisted at 82 calls with pumping water from flooded roads, closing roads or clearing debris. 

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said between 60mm and 80mm of rain fell across parts of the county, and added: "Much of the flooding in Suffolk was initially caused by surface water flooding which led to high levels of water entering the county’s rivers.

“We issued a large number of flood warnings and worked closely with Local Resilience Forum Partners.

“During this time, we have had officers out on the ground monitoring flows and keeping rivers clear of blockages to reduce flood risk. Our teams will continue this work over the coming days.”

From 6am on Thursday, October 19, to 6am on Saturday, October 21, there was a yellow Met Office warning in place for rain.

This warned of the potential for 20 to 40mm of rainfall and a risk to homes and businesses flooding, as well as a small chance of fast-flowing or deep floodwater cutting off communities and causing transport issues. 

A Met Office spokesperson said: "The Met Office issues weather warnings, when severe weather has the potential to bring impacts to the UK. 

"We would not issue warnings unless we felt impacts were likely. Warnings are based on a combination of the level of impacts the weather may cause and the likelihood of those impacts occurring.

"Yellow and Amber warnings represent a range of impact levels and likelihoods. This means it is important to read each warning to know what level of impact you can expect and how likely those impacts are to occur.

"Met Office rainfall warnings are not designed to replace Environment Agency flood alerts or warnings.

"It is also important to remember that many things influence flood risk, for example, rainfall in other parts of the catchment area of a river, and flood risk does not end when the rainfall stops as rainfall up river can take hours, if not days ,to work its way down river." 

The Met Office spokesperson said they recorded 48.3mm of rain in Wattisham on October 19, making it the area with the most rainfall on that day, and 30.6mm the following day. 

Other areas that were badly hit were Charsfield, where the Met Office recorded 46mm on October 19 and 33.2mm on October 20, and Santon Downham, where they recorded 41.4mm on October 19 and 32.6mm on October 20.

On Monday morning, 14 urgent flood warnings and alerts remained in place for Suffolk in the wake of Storm Babet, which caused a major incident that affected roads, homes and businesses.

The major incident warning was stood down at the weekend, with people advised to "remain cautious" and stay safe around low-lying areas prone to flooding.