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Strong winds cause havoc across Norfolk and Suffolk

16:35 08 June 2012

A tree blown down in the wind blocks the road at Halvergate.

Picture: James Bass

A tree blown down in the wind blocks the road at Halvergate. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Winds of up to 45mph and driving rain battered East Anglia as June’s unseasonal and unpredictable weather continued.

But weekend event organisers were given some hope last night with news that the region’s weather forecast was set to improve for people planning a day out over the coming days.

A Met Office severe weather warning resulted in a number of outdoor events being cancelled today - with the most high profile being day two of the Suffolk Show.

Organisers of the big agricultural show were counting the cost of cancelling the event, just 15 minutes after the gates opened at Trinity Park in Ipswich. And the weather was also blamed for the cancellation of Saturday’s Horham Bygones Country Rally in north Suffolk.

But Jim Bacon, forecaster at the University of East Anglia-based Weatherquest, said the strong winds would subside over the weekend. He added that the June temperatures were slightly cooler than average, but there was not normally as much wind and rain at the start of the British summer.

“We do not often get these lows across the south of the country - it is not freak weather, but not very common for June - but people do not need to cancel their events. The low is going to drift away to the north east and there will still be a bit of a breeze, but not a damaging breeze.” “Saturday will improve, there will be some showers, but fairly isolated and there is a chance of rain later on Sunday,” he said.

The windy weather caused telephone cables to fall at Little Melton, near Hethersett, and a tree to fall across the road at Halvergate, near Great Yarmouth.

However, the biggest casualty of the windy conditions was the Suffolk Show, which usually attracts 90,000 visitors over the two day event. A process for reimbursing those who have purchased tickets in advance, will be put in place in the coming days, said organisers.

David Nunn, director of the show, said at 7.45am the Met Office upgraded its severe weather warning threat and predicted force nine gales.

“Wind is always one of our main worries. On this site we can cope with rain but in strong winds like these when structures become unsafe, that is probably the only weather-related reason for cancelling the show.

“We are desperately disappointed. It is probably the most difficult decision I have had to make in my life but it is all about safety,” he said.

The Horham Bygones Country Rally would have been celebrating its 10th anniversary today, but organisers took the decision on Thursday that they would have to cancel.

The showground between Eye and Stradbroke attracts around 3,000 people every year and raises funds for the Horham Community Council.

Mike Ager, one of the rally’s organisers, said: “Sadly Saturday’s has had to be cancelled at the last minute. It was a tough decision for the organisers to make but Thursday’s downpours and further predicted rain mean that the event cannot go ahead.”

The wind and rain was almost a party pooper as the launch of the 35th birthday Summer Seaside Special at Cromer Pier had to be swiftly relocated.

The cast of the show were prepared to tread the boards on the pier to give a taste of what is to come when the event is launched on June 16.

But the relentless rain forced a change of plan, and they moved indoors to the pavilion theatre stage.

For a full report of the launch of Cromer’s Seaside Special variety show, see tomorrow’s EDP.

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