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Freak storm over Suffolk and Essex sees sunbathers dashing for cover

PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:54 27 May 2017

Flooding in Duke Street Ipswich following the downpour
Picture: PAUL GEATER

Flooding in Duke Street Ipswich following the downpour Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Just when it looked like summer had well and truly arrived, with wall-to-wall sunshine and cloudless skies over Suffolk this morning, the heavens opened unleashing a torrent of heavy rain and hailstones.

Forboding skies as the storm approached Ipswich
Picture: MATT STOTTForboding skies as the storm approached Ipswich Picture: MATT STOTT

On the streets of Ipswich, people went from taking leisurely strolls in heat of around 23C and near perfect conditions to running for shelter from a storm which suddenly brought squally showers, huge hail stones, thunder and lightning.

The heavy rain caused flash flooding in some areas including Ipswich’s Duke Street – where drivers had to go through standing water with great care.

The Orwell Bridge was closed for about half an hour because of surface water flooding on both carriageways, forcing traffic to travel through Ipswich town centre, but police said traffic started to flow easily again once it reopened.

Forecaster Phil Garner of Weatherquest described it as a “typical summer storm” caused by warm air coming out of the continent. But he said it would only be a “temporary blip” in the early summer conditions we have been enjoying up until now.

Election campaigners in Ipswich take cover in a bus shelter
Picture: PAUL GEATERElection campaigners in Ipswich take cover in a bus shelter Picture: PAUL GEATER

“Thankfully it is not going to last too long,” he said. “It’s a band of thundery showers that will move clear of Suffolk within the next hour or so. By this afternoon we should see a return to something more summery.”

Following the storm, the temperature is likely to feel a little fresher but tomorrow is forecast to be another bright sunny day.

However Mr Garner warned that we could see a return of the stormy conditions on bank holiday Monday.

Among those caught out was Ipswich Conservative candidate Ben Gummer who was forced to seek shelter under a Landseer Road bus stop when the storm hit. He was canvassing in the area – but had to spend 15 minutes sheltering from storm.

Hailstones that fell in Ipswich this morning
Picture: TERRY HUNTHailstones that fell in Ipswich this morning Picture: TERRY HUNT

The Labour canvassing team timed their canvassing slightly better – the storm hit just before they left their meeting point!

And the storm went as quickly as it arrived. Within an hour blue sky re-appeared and the sun put in an appearance again.

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