Region battered by storms

HUNDREDS of residents were today waking up without power after torrential storms arrived in the region.Wind speeds were recorded up to 56mph on the coastline, with 55mph in the rest of Suffolk.

HUNDREDS of residents were today waking up without power after torrential storms arrived in the region.

Wind speeds were recorded up to 56mph on the coastline, with 55mph in the rest of Suffolk.

Almost an inch of rain fell in one day bringing the total for July's rainfall to 2.11 inches. The average for the whole month is 2.35 inches.

Weatherman Ken Blowers, said: "In the first week we have almost had the entire average of rainfall for the whole month.


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"Last night's rain was the highest amount of rainfall we have had in one night in the region for at least the last two years."

EDF Energy, the company responsible for the region's power lines, said 75,000 of the properties they cover lost power. Most were connected back within five minutes.

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At 7am today there were still 1,100 properties in Suffolk without power and the majority were in the Bury St Edmunds area.

Thousands of residents in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages suffered two power cuts at the height of the storm but both only lasted a few minutes.

Felixstowe port closed because of the high winds, but was back working as normal again today.

EDF Energy suspended all normal maintenance work yesterday in preparation of the storms, which they had been notified about since Sunday.

A spokesman said staff had been working throughout the night to make sure residents kept power and they were satisfied with the results.

The company came under a lot of criticism in 2002 after failing to maintain the network during storms.

In 2002 they spent £6million on cutting back trees to prevent accidents in storms. This year that figure has risen to £15million.

Cliff Lane Street Fair was cancelled at the last minute yesterday when it became obvious that the storms had won.

Butcher George Debman said: "We have been very fortunate year after year with the weather and this time it has finally caught up with us.

"The people I feel sorry for are the workers for the charity stalls who turned up and the representatives from the sponsors McCarthy and Stone who drove all the way down from Coventry."

Ipswich police today issued cautions to motorists to stay clear of flooded areas such as Playford Road, Rushmere St Andrew, and One House.

Heavy showers will continue today with a risk of thunder. Scattered showers and periods of sunshine are predicted for the weekend.

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