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Pupils evacuate lightning-hit school

PUBLISHED: 15:59 14 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

PUPILS and teachers at Ipswich School were evacuated today after lightning struck its school dome.

Two crews of firefighters from Colchester Road used a turntable ladder was used to check damage to the structure but all are believed to have escaped unhurt.

PUPILS and teachers at Ipswich School were evacuated today after lightning struck its school dome.

Two crews of firefighters from Colchester Road used a turntable ladder was used to check damage to the structure but all are believed to have escaped unhurt.

The lightning struck a conductor on the main tower- which forms the highest point of the 150-year-old school – destroying a 20ft-length of cast iron drainpipe and damaging telephone and electrical cables.

The lightning struck at around 1pm, causing shockwaves through the school.

A teacher who asked not to be named said: "I was in the chemistry lab at the time and there was just one enormous bang which really shocked everyone. There was great big flash which seemed to go right through the building. It was very scary. People's reaction was a stunned silence."

Elsewhere lunchtime shoppers were left facing an almost Christmas Card-scene today as a sudden hail storm turned Ipswich town centre white.

The storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, also brought heavy rain – but was over within a matter of minutes.

It will not have come as a surprise to weather forecasters – the Met Office today warned there could be heavy showers possibly with thunder.

But storms like that in Ipswich are notoriously difficult to predict accurately and are very local. Areas on the edge of town escaped with no rain at all.

www.metoffice.gov.uk

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