THUNDERSTORMS and torrential rain caused flash flooding in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area – a day after the hottest day of the year.
The scorching heatwave was broken on Tuesday by a thunderstorm that saw more than 7mm of rain fall in just two hours.
Flash floods hit parts of Bury St Edmunds and Suffolk, with St Olaves Road on the Howard Estate in the town seeing almost a foot of flood water.
Flooding also hit the villages of Westley and Fornham All Saints and Cineworld, in Bur,y reported that it had to shut down four of its screens.
Houses struck by lightning were also reported in the area, including a home on Hastead Close in Bury.
Christine Davis, from Thurston, who was walking her dog Shadow near Hastead Close, said: “It happened at around 3.15pm.
“All of a sudden the sky went dark and it started chucking it down with rain.
“I saw a flash of lightning and a huge thunderclap.
“I jumped out of my living skin when I heard it and the dog ran off into the woods.
“I didn’t see the lightning hit the house but the thunder clap was very close.
“It was an extremely loud and violent bang and the whole ground shook with the thunder.
“There was water running down the road like a river, I got absolutely soaked.”
Mike Brown said he and a group of teenagers had to stop cars from driving along St Olaves Road to stop water pouring into neighbouring houses.
He said: “I had gone there to meet a friend of mine who lives on St Olaves.
“It got really, really bad – it got to the point where, with a group of youngsters, we had to stop cars from travelling down the road. The water had risen above the line of the curb and it was already close to going into people’s houses. Some of the neighbours were stranded in their houses and couldn’t get out.
“A lot is said about the youth of today but the youngsters who helped to stop the cars with me were terrific.”
A Met Office spokeswoman said it was the rain’s intensity that had caused the flooding.
She said: “Between 3pm and 5pm there was 7.6 mm of rain in the area - which is a lot.
“It was caused by the high temperatures we have been having which made an Atlantic weather front far more active.
“It isn’t just how much rain falls but the speed of the rainfall that has caused the flooding.
“The ground has also become very hard in the baking sun so water is not draining off like it should.”