Gallery: Storms batter Suffolk

LIGHTNING shattered the sky, thunder echoed in the clouds and rain pelted down with a shocking ferocity.

LIGHTNING shattered the sky, thunder echoed in the clouds and rain pelted down with a shocking ferocity.

Last night's thunderstorm across Ipswich and Suffolk was an assault on the senses - the weather showing its dominance over the human world below.

Nature's spectacular fireworks display brought down electricity networks and television connections. It shut train stations and flooded roads, making sure no one in Suffolk was unaware of its might.

And even today, many hours after the thunderstorm, parts of the county were left reeling in the wake of the downpour, as roads remained water-logged and gardens drenched.

Chris Bell, of forecasters Weatherquest in Norwich, said some parts of Essex and Suffolk had been hit by more than half the rainfall of an average June in less then five hours.

Ipswich was particularly hard hit with 30mm of rain falling onto the town - the average for June is 52mm.

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But the patchiness of the rainfall was demonstrated by the much lower figure for nearby Wattisham of just 8mm during the same time period.

Mr Bell said the thunderstorm was slow moving because of light winds in the upper atmosphere which meant areas were deluged because the storm was not travelling at a more normal 30mph.

For weather experts like Ken Blowers the thunderstorms are a fascinating chance to delve into their passion.

“It is the atmosphere at work, which is very exciting,” he said. “You see nature in all its glory with the sound of thunder and sight of lightening and so much rain.”

He said 0.65inc of rain had fallen during the storm - the heaviest rainfall in Ipswich since February.

He also counted 51 lightening bolts during the storm, each one of which reached a temperature of around 55,000F while measuring less than half an inch wide.

Mr Blowers added: “It was quite impressive, but there was so much cloud about that a lot of the lightening was above the clouds. It was what's known as sheet lightening.

“The thunderstorms came from the west and spread across East Anglia, all caused by a shallow depression which was very close to eastern England.

“It has now moved away into Holland and the trend is now for much drier weather except for wet weather tomorrow.

“The storm was well forecast. It wasn't a surprise except that here in Ipswich the rain did go on for two hours so people won't have to water their gardens for a week!”

Mr Blowers said storms were most common during the summer months of May, June, July and August, with Suffolk experiencing an average of 14 thunderstorms each year.

But despite the aggressiveness of the storm its strange alluring beauty and intensity brought many photographers out from the havens of their homes in an attempt to capture the perfect shot.

- Did you take any dramatic pictures during the storms? Send them to us at mark.heath@archant.co.uk.

Storms leave thousands of homes without powerStorms leave thousands of homes without power