Comet struck by flash floods

ELECTRICAL giant Comet today face an anxious wait to see how much damage has been done to their stock after their store was flooded.A bad storm at about 1pm on Saturday forced the business, in Bury Road, Ipswich, to close for the rest of the afternoon.

ELECTRICAL giant Comet today face an anxious wait to see how much damage has been done to their stock after their store was flooded.

A bad storm at about 1pm on Saturday forced the business, in Bury Road, Ipswich, to close for the rest of the afternoon.

Tom Reilly, general manager of the store, said: "Torrential rain washed out the site and that caused damage to the building.

"Water started coming in from the side walls and the roof. The main thing was the gutters could not take the deluge of water.

"We will have to wait for the surveyors to come in to find out the extent of the damage."

The Comet store reopened yesterday but they were not the only business to be affected by the downpour.

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Asda, based in nearby Goddard Road, remained open but had to close off seven aisles because of the rain, though no stock was damaged.

Hundreds of people taking part in the annual Ipswich Hospital abseil were also affected by the rain.

Frank Turmell from Main Event Group Activities (MEGA) which organises the abseil, said that the torrential rain and lightening meant that abseilers had to stop until the storm was over on both Saturday and Sunday.

The event had to stop for around an hour on Saturday and was also delayed on Sunday.

Mr Turmell said: "The main reason was the lightning.

"We can't have people up on the roof especially with metal objects on them.

"Safety is the number one concern for us."

It was only the third time that the event has had to be stopped because of the weather in the nine years that the abseil has been running.

However everyone was able to do their abseil and the event only ran around 30 minutes later than planned.

Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said about a quarter of an inch of rain fell in east Ipswich on Saturday - and a similar amount fell on the area yesterday.

But he said the storms were very localised and thought there had been much more rain in the west of the town and towards Stowmarket.

"These storms moved up from Kent and were very sharp where they caused problems," he said.

So far July has been very wet - in the first 18 days of the month we have had more than three inches of rain.

The average rainfall for the whole of July is just 2.35 inches - and last year in July we had less than two inches of rain.

And Mr Blowers had a warning about the rest of the summer.

"The thing about St Swithin's Day (last Thursday) is that you often find the weather set for the next few weeks by what happens then," he said.

"If it is fine then you tend to find the weather remains good - but if it's unsettled then we can get into an unsettled phase.

"It's not a hard and fast rule - but it happens about seven years out of ten."

Weather forecasters aren't able to decide what will happen over the next few days - many have suggested that we could be on the start of a mini-heatwave with temperatures heading towards the 80s.

However the Met Office and BBC forecasts suggest we could have some sunshine but with thunderstorms in the middle of the week - with temperatures in the low 70s at best.

n How did the torrential rain affect you or your business? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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