Five homes hit by lightening

WHAT a difference a day makes! After sweltering on the hottest day in weather history, Suffolk awoke today to thunderstorms and teeming rain, with five homes in Ipswich struck by lightning within an hour.

WHAT a difference a day makes!

After sweltering on the hottest day in weather history, Suffolk awoke today to thunderstorms and teeming rain, with five homes in Ipswich struck by lightning within an hour.

The two worst-affected houses were in Kingfisher Avenue at just before 6am when a crack of lightening struck the roof and sent tiles tumbling off the roof.

Pensioner Maggie Kay said she nearly had a heart attack as the storm gathered pace. "It was very frightening but fortunately only a few loose tiles came down. Apart from that we had a lucky escape.


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"I saw the big flash of lightening and nearly had a heart attack. The crash of thunder was so loud. However, I still have my power which is good."

Her neighbours, Barry and Barbara Nurse's home suffered some internal damage.

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Mr Nurse: "The front of the house was struck. We were awake in bed and as soon as we heard the bang we knew instantly the house had been struck.

"There is a hole in the bedroom ceiling and in one of the walls and the force has blown off some wallpaper. Our video, tv and microwave have all blown.

His wife added: "I could smell burning and quickly phoned the fire service."

Earlier, firefighters were called to Ivy Well Farm, Hadleigh Road, Burstall at 5.43am. They also attended Dale Hall Lane at 6.09am and Kestrel Road at 6.32am.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire Service said: "We attended five properties which had been struck by lightening but there were no fires at any of the calls. We checked the properties and made the area safe."

It was a far cry from yesterday, when temperatures in Britain broke through the 100F mark for the first time since weather recording began in 1659, and Suffolk had its hottest day ever.

The national record – 38.1C or 100.6F – was set at Gravesend, Kent, the Met Office declared.

In Ipswich, Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers recorded 35.1C (95.2F), beating the previous record of 34.6C (94.3F) on June 3, 1947.

It was cooler by the coast, but only a by a couple of degrees.

Felixstowe enjoyed a fantastic day as the crowds flocked to the seaside to soak up the sun and cool off in the sea. With the resort celebrating its carnival, there was lots for people to do and see with the big parade on Saturday watched by more than 20,000, and on Sunday air-sea rescue and air displays on the seafront and entertainment in Langer Park.

Arcade and amusement owners said the weekend went well but people tended to stay on the beach.

Mr Blowers said the outlook for the week was that it would become cooler – though at 26C (78F) it would still be lovely and warm, though not as oppressive.

He reminded people that official weather temperature readings had to be taken by equipment in a Stevenson Screen, a white louvered cabinet – and not just by placing a thermometer on the ground in full sun.

Roger White, a forecaster at the Met Office's London Weather Centre, said that for 'weather nerds' like him it was exciting to be working on the day the record was broken.

"Most of the people in the Met Office who have been here for a long time aren't here for the money. We tend to get fairly excited about these things because that's what interests us, that's why we joined," he said.

"It's an honour to be working on such a day."

Scientists say this year's record-breaking summer is further evidence of global warming and warn that the impact will include the spread of war and disease, and will also hit the economy, and devastate the environment.

The hot weather contributed to a mass of grass and undergrowth fires across Suffolk, including more than 40 firefighters tackling an inferno which destroyed 60 acres of crops in Cratfield, near Halesworth at 3pm on Saturday.

200 square metres of stubble also caught fire at Innocence Lane, Kirton, near Felixstowe, at 1pm on Saturday.

n Globally, 1998 was the hottest year on record, and six of the ten hottest years ever recorded were in the 1990s.

n In the UK, four out of the five hottest years in the 330-year Central England Temperature (CET) record occurred in the last ten years.

n The official CET records started being kept in 1659 with daily reports beginning 1772.

n Annual average temperatures, combining the global land and marine surface temperature record from 1856 to 2002, is being compiled by the Climatic Research

Unit at the University of East Anglia and the Met Office.

n The 1990s were the warmest decade on record globally and the warmest two years ever have been 2002 and 1998.

n Scientists say the reason the world is hotting up is because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities.

n The scientists don't just study the weather when they look at earth's changes – they analyse more than 400 indicators.

n The indicators including trees, corals, ice cores,

historical records, rainfall, sea levels, egg-laying dates of

birds, abundance of butterflies, air quality, activity in the tourism industry and seasonal human death rate.

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