Galleries: Flooding causes chaos across region

SUFFOLK and Essex has been hit by serious flooding following yesterday's massive downpour - with some people having to be evacuated from their homes.

SUFFOLK and Essex have been hit by serious flooding following yesterday's massive downpour - with some people having to be evacuated from their homes.

A 20-hour battering of rain saw nearly a month's worth of rain fall, making it difficult for rivers and drains to cope.

Today, emergency services have been dealing with numerous weather-related calls as cars got stuck in flooded rivers and coastguards were on standby if rivers burst their banks.

A family had to be rescued from their car in Lavenham, near Sudbury, at 7.15am this morning which resulted in good Samaritans lending the stranded family clothing after they were forced to abandon their car in a flooded road.

At 8.30am this morning 12 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Steeple Bumpstead near Haverhill due to flooding.

In the Gorse Lane area of Clacton, 12 homes have been affected by the flooding leading to the evacuation of five households.

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Residents from five properties are being looked after at a temporary rest centre at Clacton Town Hall while the others affected have chosen to either go to relatives or remain in their homes.

Surface water resulted in hazardous driving conditions on the A14 between the Stowmarket and Claydon junctions.

And one lane was closed on the A12 at Woodbridge because of flooding. There were also reports of flooding on the A12 at Yoxford while the same road was also blocked near Ingatestone in Essex.

The A1214 through Kesgrave was under several inches of water, and roads were also blocked in the Stowmarket, Wickham Market and Framlingham areas.

The Nacton Road area was the worst-hit part of Ipswich, and the FA Youth Cup match at Portman Road was abandoned after 88 minutes with the score at 0-0 because of the rain.

Some of the worst problems were in the south west of the county around the Sudbury area.

The rain was still falling at 6am, but forecasters were predicting it would ease off during the rush hour, leaving a calmer day.

As much as 30ml of rainfall was predicted to have fallen by this morning, just 5ml short of the average for February.

The Environment Agency placed a 'flood watch' status - an early detection warning - on the Tidal Deben Estuary yesterday afternoon in anticipation of the rapidly rising water levels.

By late last night warnings were also in place on the River Stour from Kedington, near Haverhill, to Sudbury and the River Gipping from Stowmarket to Needham Market, as well as the Rattlesden River.

In Essex river warnings were in place on the River Wid from Ingatestone to Writtle, the River Can at Chelmsford and the River Crouch from Noaks Bridge to Runwell, including Wickford.

Firefighters from the Essex reported a deluge of calls about flooding from 6pm, while their Suffolk counterparts reported only taking a few.

Suffolk police said they had received a number of calls of excess water problems on roads, though they were still passable.

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

There were also reports of flooding on B1079 at Clopton, Playford Road at Rushmere St Andrew and Nacton Road, Ipswich.

This morning emergency services were called to two reports of cars getting stuck in flood water.

At about 6.10am water rescue fire crews were called to Hawstead near Bury St Edmunds where a car was in trouble.

By the time crews arrived the car had been towed out by a member of the public.

Throughout Suffolk drivers are also being warned of dangerous conditions on the roads early today with the eastern coast set to be battered by gusts of winds up to 50mph and icy conditions possible.

And the miserable weather is set to continue, with the cold snap not relinquishing its grip for at least another week.

John Law, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said: “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.”

After temperatures hovered around freezing last night, he said today will see brighter, sunnier spells develop from late morning and there will be a high of around 4-5C. But temperatures will plummet again to -3C overnight.

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