Downpours cause flooding problems

SUFFOLK is bracing itself for nearly a month's worth of rainfall tonight, with a host of swollen rivers on a state of flood alert.

Russell Claydon

SUFFOLK is bracing itself for nearly a month's worth of rainfall tonight, with a host of swollen rivers on a state of flood alert.

Forecasters are expected downpours of rain and sleet to bring between 25-30ml from this afternoon until 2am tomorrow morning, just 5ml short of the total amount for February.

The Tidal Deben Estuary, the River Stour, the Rattlesden River and River Gipping and the River Crouch in Essex have all been put on 'flood watch' tonight by the Environment Agency in anticipation of the freak conditions.

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It is thought parts of the rivers could burst their banks due to the heavy rainfall.

Any excess snow around the county is set to add to the problems as it melts away on already saturated ground, causing localised flooding.

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Suffolk police said at 9.45pm they had received more than a dozen calls of excess water problems on roads, though they are all still passable.

The worst affected areas are around Haverhill with gushing with a stream drain cover spewing out water on the A143 road at Wratting.

Reports of flooding on B1079 at Clopton, Playford Road at Rushmere St Andrew and Nacton Road, Ipswich, have also been received.

Drivers are also being warned of dangerous conditions on the roads tomorrow morning, with gusts of winds of up to 50mph predicted to batter coastal areas.

The cold snap looks set to continue well into next week, with the 35ml of rain normally seen in February having already passed just nine days in.

A John Law, a forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: “It is going to be a mixture of rain and sleet throughout the night - 25-30ml of rain-fall is entirely possible throughout Suffolk.

“It is a lot of rain to come through - the average monthly rainfall for Wattisham for February is 35ml.

“We have already seen a fair bit this month, so it is working out to be above average for the month already.

“An area of low pressure is currently sliding along the Channel so as well as wet weather we are going to get a lot of windy weather around the coast.

“Gusts of around 50mph are expected, particularly first thing (until 10am), but these will ease down throughout the day and they should not present much of a problem inland.

“Temperatures tonight will be between 0-1C, giving a bit of a frost but it will be too windy to cause much ice to form.

“The wind and heavy rain is likely to cause problems.”

He said tomorrow will see brighter spells develop from late morning and there will be a high of around 4-5C, but then temperatures will plummet again to -3C overnight.

“It still looks pretty cold throughout the week, even through into the weekend. Overnight temperatures will around -3 to -4C and daytime temperatures around 5C,” he added.

The Environment Agency alert for the Deben means there could be possible flooding in low lying areas as high waters are expected to peak above timetable predictions due to the heavy rainfall.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “We obviously have a couple of flood watches on at the moment and we would want people to remain vigilant and to keep an eye on the situation on the website and local media.”

She added: “People should be aware there is a lot of rain coming and if temperatures warm up and snow melts there will be a lot of water about.”

Concerned residents in low-lying areas of the estuary are being advised to call floodline on 0845 988 1188 and enter area number 035121 to get more information.

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