Soggy Suffolk faces flood alerts

SOGGY Suffolk got a welcome, and unexpected, reprieve from the rain today - but there are still flood alerts on some rivers.Well over the average amount of rain for January has already fallen in the Ipswich area .

SOGGY Suffolk got a welcome, and unexpected, reprieve from the rain today - but there are still flood alerts on some rivers.

Well over the average amount of rain for January has already fallen in the Ipswich area . . . and there are still 11 days to go with little sign of a change in the weather.

Over the weekend The Environment Agency placed floodwatches on rivers across Suffolk, including the Gipping, the Deben, and the Stour - although a warning about the Rattlesden River near Stowmarket was lifted.

Floodwatch means low-lying fields and roads may be affected by warning, although there is no immediate threat to homes.

However people living in homes threatened by flooding are warned to take appropriate precautions in case things get worse - for instance installing flood panels and charging mobile phones.

And while this January is heading to be one of the wettest of record, it is also heading to be one of the warmest - just 12 months after the current record was set.

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Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said that so far this month 2.65 inches of rain had fallen in the Ipswich area. The long-term average for the month is 2.07ins.

He said: “It has been very wet and there is very little sign of change on the way. We are getting weather systems coming in from the south west and they are continuing to keep the rain coming.

“The other feature of the month has been that it is very mild. The average for January is 43F (6C), but this month we've been having temperatures up to 55F (13C) which is the average for mid-April.

“Last January was the warmest for 90 years - this year might not be far behind that!”

But while there was no sign of a cold spell developing, he could not rule out the possibility just yet.

“People still talk about the long cold winter of 1947 when it snowed for weeks. But the weather didn't get cold that year until January 24 so we are not out of the woods yet.

“But we certainly are not going to get snow on January 24 this year - that's Thursday!” He added.

The wet start to the year follows on from the very damp 2007 which had total rainfall of nearly 28 inches - four inches more than average and 2006 which also had above-average rainfall after a very wet autumn made up for a dry start to the year.

The government's Meteorological Office had issued a weather warning of heavy rain over much of Britain, including East Anglia, for this morning.

Mercifully that failed to arrive in this region although floodplains remained sodden.

This motorist was left stranded on a rural road between Easton and Letheringham, near Woodbridge, which was left under around a foot of water.

Sam Hunt, 16, his 15-year-old brother Lee and father Derek found the driver when they went out yesterday morning to see how bad the flooding was on roads near their home in Easton.

Later in the day, the car was passed by Yvonne Swan whose horses splashed through the floodwater.

But Ollie Stearn and Adam Lockwood picked a more suitable mode of transport for the conditions - a kayak.

In Ipswich, a huge hole opened in Woodbridge Road as the rain tipped down on Saturday.