Clean up operation after storm chaos

A CLEAN-UP operation is underway today after floods, hail and storm chaos hit the county.Motorists were held up, properties including Ipswich's Regent Theatre were flooded and thousands of homes lost power as the extreme weather took its toll yesterday , but fortunately no one was killed.

A CLEAN-UP operation is underway today after floods, hail and storm chaos hit the county.

Motorists were held up, properties including Ipswich's Regent Theatre were flooded and thousands of homes lost power as the extreme weather took its toll yesterday , but fortunately no one was killed.

Two schoolgirls however are recovering in Ipswich Hospital today after they were struck by lightning during the thunderstorms.

The 13-year-old and 15-year-old students were struck by a bolt of lightning at Ipswich High School in Woolverstone as they walked beneath an umbrella to their school bus. The force of the strike had “blown apart” their shoes.

Both girls suffered serious but non-threatening burns and the strike was said to have left entrance and exit wounds.

A pupil who saw the incident while waiting for the school bus, said: “It was really, really sudden. It was like a bomb. There were lots of screams and cries for help.

Most Read

“When the smoke cleared you could just see two girls laying flat on their faces on the pavement.

“It was hard to tell if they were alive or not.”

The girl said the bus driver asked if any of the girls still had a signal on their mobile phone so he could dial 999.

Paramedic team leader Paul Leech from the East Anglian Ambulance Service said the girls both suffered entry and exit wounds to their arms and feet.

He said: “The injuries appeared to be superficial but the girls were in some pain and we gave them pain relief and put them on to a spinal board as a precaution.

“They are being assessed at Ipswich Hospital and hopefully there is no internal or lasting damage.

“As I was driving to the scene there was a terrible storm and I was half wondering if it would be safe to get out of the car.”

The ambulance crews were called to the school shortly after 4pm.

A mother and daughter were taken to Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital after being struck by lightning at Thetford, and their Collie dog was killed in the incident.

EDF Energy said ten properties remained without power today due to two storms faults yet to be resolved at Wherstead and Brettenham, near Bury St Edmunds.

Up to 2,000 homes in Suffolk lost power as a result of the storms yesterday but the company told The Evening Star it could not tell our readers where in the county was affected as it did not have a record.

The power fortunately was not affected at Portman Road, where Rod Stewart defied the rain to give a shining concert.

Fans were drenched as the downpours continued into the evening but were given free waterproof ponchos from organisers and words of encouragement from the rocker.

Suffolk firefighters received around 200 calls and attended 39 incidents, including seven properties that had been struck by lightning, causing roof fires.

Four of the properties were in the Ipswich area, two in Leiston and one in Felixstowe, while a house in Dovercourt also caught alight after it was struck by lightning.

At 4.20pm the Regent Theatre in St Helen's Street, Ipswich, reported flooding in its basement which required an expert team to pump out the water.

Shortly afterwards, the Holland and Barrett shop in the Buttermarket, Ipswich, also reported basement flooding.

The A12 was badly affected when tailbacks of more than a mile built up between Ipswich and Lowestoft after a railway crossing at Darsham was struck by lightning, causing the lights to stay on red.

Police were forced to close part of the A12 at Little Glemham and Campsea Ashe due to severe flooding. Two fire engines were called to the area to pump water from the road and clear drains.

There were reports of flooding in many other areas of the county including Copdock, Wickham Market and Felixstowe.

Grimwade Street, Princes Street and Wherstead Road were among the roads most severely affected in Ipswich.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “We had numerous reports of flooding, mostly in the eastern area.

“Since midnight we haven't had anything as the problems subsided later yesterday. The worst of the problems were in the afternoon.”

The police called for motorists to adjust their driving in wet weather, slowing down and leaving plenty of stopping distance to the car in front.

Lightning also caused problems on the trains with at least two services delayed through signalling faults.

A spokeswoman for rail operator 'one' said: “There was a problem with the 3.26pm service from Ipswich to Felixstowe. It had to return to Platform One, due we think to lightning problems.

“There was a brief problem with signalling and track circuits in the Ipswich area. It was resolved quite quickly.

“There were some signalling problems on the east Suffolk line. The 1.38pm service from Liverpool Street to Lowestoft ran 40 minutes late and the 2.58pm Lowestoft to Liverpool Street ran half an hour late. The signalling problems in the area are thought to be weather-related.”

N Do you have pictures or video of the extreme weather? E-mail them to suffolkpicturedesk@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter