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Clear up begins after flash floods

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

MOPS were out and tumble-dryers still spinning in Suffolk today as the massive clean up continued after freak floods soaked the county.

The three-hour long torrential deluge of yesterday afternoon caused traffic chaos as roads turned to rivers and left drivers stranded.

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MOPS were out and tumble-dryers still spinning in Suffolk today as the massive clean up continued after freak floods soaked the county.

The three-hour long torrential deluge of yesterday afternoon caused traffic chaos as roads turned to rivers and left drivers stranded.

Gridlock hit Ipswich as motorists were forced to cope with the hazardous conditions and negotiate waterlogged roads.

Cars overheated in the queues as drivers attempted to navigate streets under up to 2ft of water and pedestrians were quickly soaked to the skin.

Floating drain covers lifted by the deluge added to the hazards faced by motorists on Woodbridge Road.

A string of drivers in Sproughton Road, Holywells Road and Duke Street found themselves beached as their engines gave up to the inevitable, spluttered and died.

Many homes and businesses around the town spent the evening bailing out after the monsoon-like downpour left them inches in water.

Rainwater gushed under doorways from flooded roads as curbs failed to contain the flow.

Emergency services switchboards were inundated, with around 90 calls to Suffolk Fire Service asking for help to deal with flooding and calls to the police to assist with traffic chaos and waterlogged roads.

Ipswich saw almost its average rainfall for the month in just three-hours - the highest short duration rainfall recorded in the town in nine years.

Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said 2.05 inches of rain fell, compared to an average for August of 2.23 inches. So far this month, 3.03 inches of rain has fallen on Suffolk's town.

"The rainfall was caused by an active trough of low pressure which moved eastwards across Essex and Suffolk," he said.

"In some places there were thunderstorms, hail and waterspouts were observed off Southwold."

He said the outlook for the next few days should be better with temperatures increasing through the weekend.

Ipswich Borough Council were unable to put a figure on the cost of the mass mop-up which was continuing today.

Max Stocker, council spokesman, said they had been called out between 20 and 30 times yesterday afternoon as a result of the flooding.

Staff had worked until 9.30pm last night in the clean-up with Anglian Water which got underway again at 6am today, he added.

Council staff were hampered in Fore Street by gridlocked traffic which left pump vehicles unable to get through. But the worst troubles were in Fore Street, Holywells Road, Hawke Road, Woodbridge Road East as well as many minor roads throughout the town, he said.

Elsewhere around the country, yesterday's freak weather featured hail and even tornadoes as summer vanished for the afternoon.

A man was treated in hospital after the caravan he was in was struck by an empty caravan lifted by a mini tornado near Gosport, in Hampshire.

The appalling weather comes just two weeks after temperatures soared to 32C prompting hordes of sun-seekers to flock to the coast.

UK Met Office: www.met-office.gov.uk

Weather Forecasts for the UK: www.onlineweather.com

World Meteorological Office: http://www.wmo.ch/index-en.html

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