'Tropical' downpours hit region

RAINFALL of “tropical intensity” hit Suffolk yesterday afternoon - turning roads into rivers and threatening to flood a number of homes.The deluge started around 3pm and although it only lasted for between 10 and 15 minutes it is thought half an inch of rain fell in that short time.

RAINFALL of “tropical intensity” hit Suffolk yesterday afternoon - turning roads into rivers and threatening to flood a number of homes.

The deluge started around 3pm and although it only lasted for between 10 and 15 minutes it is thought half an inch of rain fell in that short time.

In Woodbridge, thunderstorms and flash floods left rain water running in the streets and flowing up to people's doorsteps.

Tim Davies, 25, and Alex Lamont, 24, who live in Doric Place, were affected by the downpour.

They said: “It can be a real river down here at times when it rains. We fetched some sandbags from across the road because the water was coming up right to the doorstep.

“The whole area was completely underwater. Part of the problem was that it was hailing quite hard - it sounded like a machine gun on the window - and we think this blocked the drains.

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“It was a real flash flood. Fortunately it didn't reach into the house so we were fairly lucky.”

Ipswich weatherman Ken Blowers said around half an inch of rain fell in the town in less than 10 minutes yesterday afternoon.

“The rain has been of a tropical intensity accompanied by large hailstones,” he said. “The total rain and hail measured was half an inch in just under 10 minutes.”

Last night Suffolk police said they had not received any reports of problems because of flooding but a spokeswoman for the fire service said crews had attended a lightning strike at St Margaret's Place, Stradishall, near Haverhill.

A crew from Wickhambrook and another from Clare attended at just before 6pm after receiving a call to an attic fire.

When firefighters arrived they found the lightning had gone to earth through television and electrical equipment.

One hose reel was used to extinguish the small fire and the affected equipment was removed by 6.44pm.

No other damage was caused but one man was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties after being treated at the scene with oxygen.

Forecasters predict the showers will continue into the week but say by Thursday it should become brighter - although temperatures will drop.

John Law, from WeatherQuest, said: “Over the last couple of days we have seen some very moist, warm air move up from the south west and create a low pressure system over the region, which has caused some heavy showers.

“In the next few days there may still be one or two showers on the coast but I think this low pressure will move out to the North Sea and bring in some north westerly winds which should keep us a little bit drier.

“It will also be a little bit brighter with some sunshine - although I think we can expect temperatures will drop a little by Wednesday and Thursday to around 17/18C, which is about average for this time of year.”

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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