Suffolk was brought to a halt by a second deluge in two weeks as Storm Ciarán  brought torrential rain and high winds to the east of the county.

And the Orwell Bridge outside Ipswich was closed because of high winds for the first time since February last year.

In the end the high winds didn't last as long as initially expected - but the rain was if anything heavier than forecast.

And this deluge brought more misery to communities that had only just started to clear up after the destruction brought by Storm Babet.

Ipswich Star: Flooding returned to roads that had been blocked by Storm Babet two weeks ago - this is Coddenham Road bridge at Needham Market.Flooding returned to roads that had been blocked by Storm Babet two weeks ago - this is Coddenham Road bridge at Needham Market. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Storm Ciarán had a major impact on the county - but it had been forecast and the actions of local authorities and other bodies helped to ensure Suffolk was ready to cope with its impact.

Dan Holley from Norwich-based forecasters Weatherquest posted figures showing just how serious the storm was.

EAST: Very few stations on E. coast, but highest gust at Southwold Lifeboat Stn (unofficial) during #StormCiarán was 68mph.

With MSL pressure ~955hPa, this looks like the lowest pressure in the region since Feb 1989.

Rain since 6pm Wed:
29mm Writtle
24mm Wattisham
21mm Cromer


High winds were forecast from the early hours of Thursday morning so the Orwell Bridge closed at midnight on Wednesday.

At the time of the closure the Met Office was forecasting that the high winds would continue until the early hours of Friday and National Highways warned the bridge could be closed for 24 hours.

In the event the track of the storm changed slightly, the winds eased in mid morning and National Highways was able to open it by 11am.

The closure did cause traffic congestion in Ipswich - but the Port of Felixstowe had already announced it would be closed to container lorries throughout the day and many people decided not to make non-essential journeys in the town.

That meant the congestion was not as bad as had been seen in the past although flooding under bridges in Wherstead Road and Sproughton Road helped to make it more difficult to get around the town.

Outside Ipswich the most serious problem was on the A12 at Capel St Mary, where an overturned lorry caused hours of misery for drivers - drivers were taking two hours to travel from Ipswich to Colchester.

Ipswich Star: A lorry has overturned on the A12 near Capel St Mary

Across Suffolk highways engineers were called out to 25 road blockages - mainly caused by fallen trees - but chainsaw gangs had prepared and were ready to go where needed.

A total of 85 schools were closed or partially closed because of the weather, including those in Framlingham and Debenham which had been at the centre of the Storm Babet crisis.

In many other schools that did open there were significant absences after headteachers made it clear children did not need to attend if their parents were concerned about getting to or from lessons.

UK Power Networks said up to 7,000 properties in Suffolk and south Norfolk lost power overnight near the county border and in the Leiston area.

But 97% had power restored early in the morning and only a handful were still powerless by lunchtime.

Although the wind eased during the day, rain continued to fall - and was expected to get heavier overnight into the early hours of Friday morning.

A meeting of the Suffolk Resilience Forum at lunchtime on Tuesday was told by the Environment Agency that 25mm of rain had already fallen in the Ipswich area over the previous 24 hours - the monthly average for the area is 62mm.

The rain that has fallen over the last two days still has to make its way into the rivers and streams which are already full from last month's rainfall.

So the risk of further flooding remains - especially with more heavy rain forecast for Saturday and warnings of more unsettled weather next week.

There was minor disruption on the rail network. Services between Marks Tey and Sudbury were stopped on Thursday morning because of flooding at Bures and there were fears of a landslip.

However an inspection by Network Rail engineers found there had been no landslip and rail services resumed at lunchtime.

A tree blocked the East Suffolk Line between Saxmundham and Darsham and trains were delayed while it was cleared.

But delays on the main line between London and Ipswich on Thursday morning were not weather-related. They were caused by a broken-down freight train.