Ipswich: Shoppers emerge after slight thaw

IPSWICH/ FELIXSTOWE: More snow may be on the way, but traders are rejoicing today after slightly milder temperatures encouraged shoppers to emerge from the warmth of their homes.

The lull in the storm and the rise in temperatures allowed the frosty pavements to thaw and gave town residents the perfect opportunity to complete their festive shopping.

After a slow start to the shopping season, and with the countdown to Christmas Day nearing its crescendo, crowds are venturing into town for their last vital gifts.

However, the arctic temperatures of last weekend look set to return as forecasters predict that the mercury will drop to between -6C and -10C on Christmas Eve – leaving many panicking about making it home for Christmas.

But the brief reprieve will not stop town residents finishing off their Christmas shopping now the big day is nearly upon us, giving traders a cause for celebration.

Peter Dawes, chairman of the chamber of trade in Felixstowe, said: “The vibe I have been getting from the shops is that they have been struggling with the weather and people not going out, but the last few days have been better.”

The problems of the past few days have not only hit the roads and shops – underground waterworks have also been affected, with three broken pipes in Ipswich alone yesterday morning.

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Anglian Water said its teams were fielding more calls than usual, mainly to burst pipes which have been cracked by the freezing water surrounding them in the ground.

Repairs were carried out in Foxhall Road, Myrtle Road and Glamorgan Road and in some cases sections of the street had to be closed to allow workmen access.