Flooding fears as downpours hit

HEAVY downpours gave the region a soaking over the weekend, with weather warnings issued across Suffolk and Essex.

Hollie-Rae Merrick

HEAVY downpours gave the region a soaking over the weekend, with weather warnings issued across Suffolk and Essex.

The Environment Agency issued a number of flood watches yesterday, with many of the region's rivers at extremely high levels.

The heavy rain means that underground water tables - the upper level of groundwater - remain very high, increasing the risk of flooding.

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Forecaster Chris Bell, of WeatherQuest, said: “Generally the ground is pretty much saturated and due to the lack of wind and sunshine there has not been much evaporation.

“This has all resulted in the water table being topped up.

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“Generally, at this time of year the water table is at its highest - however, the rainfall in February has been double the average amount.”

Warnings were issued for the areas surrounding the River Gipping, River Deben and River Rat.

There were also flood watches in place on the coastal stretch from Lowestoft to Bawdsey.

Phil Garner, also from WeatherQuest, said that about 25mm of rain fell in the region yesterday.

He said: “It's been a very wet February for this region - with 220% of the normal rainfall hitting Suffolk.

“This means that the region has had double the normal amount of rainfall for February.

“Temperatures have been below average also - at about 1-2C below what is normally expected for this time of year.”

However, Mr Garner said that conditions would improve over the course of the week.

He said: “It looks like things will remain unsettled but there is a band of high pressure heading this way. It looks like things are going to be a lot milder and warmer - on Tuesday and Wednesday, in particular.”

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service received more than 40 calls during the day, mostly in the morning.

Some roads were closed due to flooding but due to the number of incidents fire crews were unable to pump water away.

There were a number of calls from the Braintree area, some involving people trapped in cars and others where water was threatening electrical equipment.

Although the number of calls had dropped by lunchtime, at 3.30pm crews were still dealing with flooded roads in Sible Hedingham.

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