WATCH Dramatic lightning and thunder as ‘intense’ storm hits Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 07:42 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:34 26 July 2019
An electrical storm bringing rain, thunder and lightning ended the day’s heat with a bang as it swept into Norfolk.
Residents reported seeing dramatic bursts of lightning and cracks of thunder overhead on Thursday, just hours after it was confirmed as the hottest day ever recorded in the county.
A Norwich comedy festival was called off due to the storm when comedy fans at Laugh in the Park 2019, in Chapelfield Gardens, were forced to vacate the annual stand-up comedy festival's tent after just two acts.
Attendees at the gig, featuring headline act Chris Ramsey, were asked to gather outside to wait out the storm.
Comedian Chris Ramsey confirmed the gig had been called off due to the weather.
Generators at a Norwich hospital were in use after a short power outage hit the building during the storm, with staff ensuring machines had enough battery.
A spokesperson for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) said: "We believe there was a brief power cut and the generators did come on as normal."
They added that systems were back up and running shortly after the interruption.
The county's fire service also attended a number of incidents related to the storm, including a fire at a building in West Beckham at 11.36pm.
Appliances from Cromer and Sheringham were called to the scene on Mill Road, which was caused by an electrical fault due to the storm.
And crews from Earlham, Hethersett and Reepham attended a building fire on Ipswich Road after a lightning strike at 10.34pm, but firefighters did not provide any services.
Meteorologist and storm chaser Dan Holley said: "I went for a 90 minute storm chase in and around Norwich to get right underneath the storm.
"The frequency of lightning was up there as potentially one of the best I've ever seen in the UK, and much more akin to the types of storms you find in the plains in the US."
Mr Holley, who works at Norwich-based forecaster Weatherquest, added: "Thunderstorms feed on warm, moist air, which we've had plenty of over the region during the last couple of days.
"But you also need a lifting mechanism to create thunderstorms and release all the instability.
"High pressure has meant much of Wednesday and Thursday was dry, hot and sunny, but this is weakening now, allowing low pressure over the Atlantic to release all the energy built up over the past couple of days into these intense thunderstorms.
"One of the rare side-effects of these storms tonight is something called heat bursts, where air descending out from the thunderstorm heats up rapidly, creating a sudden spike in temperature and accompanied by strong gusts of wind."
The East Anglian region, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and adjacent parts of the North Sea saw 21,000 lightning strikes during the storm.
The figure, which includes lightning that doesn't touch the ground - or intra-cloud lightning - is detected using sensors dotted across Europe.
Mr Holley added: "They each detect the lightning as a distance away from the sensor, and then provided you have at least three sensors that detect the same strike you can triangulate and work out where it occurred."
The region was also affected by dozens of power cuts in the hours following the storm, with locations near Holt, Briston, Little Snoring, Baconsthorpe, Toftrees, Hockering, Taverham, Norwich, Postwick and Hellington still suffering power outages at gone midnight, on Friday, July 26.
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