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Love You More
Black Eyed Peas
(I Just) Died In Your Arms
The Day I Died
Summer Of 69
Martin Wainwright, Tuesday 10th July 2012 06:57
More rain is forecast for many of the north's battered and weary communities, with weather maps showing all-day wetness for most of the three regions today and the same to come later in the week for the North West and Yorkshire.
The north east looks like the best place to go for a bit of sunshine, or at least dryish ground, before the weekend, but thousands of people elsewhere are going to be much too busy coping with weather damage to contemplate that.
The Hebweb in Hebden Bridge, which is chronicling the town's second major flood in three weeks in vivid detail, reports that 25 wagon loads of muck and rubble have alreadt been removed from the town's streets. People who live up steep hills are usually immune from the UK's main types of flooding – rivers overflowing on to valley land or drains backing up – but the sheer force of Monday's torrential outburst swept an estimated 500 tonnes, and more, of debris past Hebden's hillside doors.
The roads couldn't take it in places and their tarmac started peeling up, while down in the town the water backed up to well over two feet, made worse by 'bow-waves' from drivers pressing down on the accelerator to try to get through. The Halifax Courier describes how floorboards and silicone were used by Marcus Doyle and Warren Booth at the Yorkshire Soap Company in Market Street to construct a remarkably effective flood barrier around the door. Along with other shopkeepers, they then sallied outside to join neighbours in slowing down the traffic before the A646 finally closed.
The Great Yorkshire Show is going ahead despite saturated ground which has greatly reduced parking on the site at Harrogate. The event's website also says laconically: 'Conditions for camping at the show at the present time are poor.' Large crowds are still expected and a huge effort is being made to promote park-and-ride from Plompton Bar on the A661, coach drop-offs and the use of public transport. A fleet of tractors is on hand to help horseboxes and other essential vehicles and extra trains with more carriages, plus additional shuttle buses from Harrogate station are being laid on. More details here.
There have been few criticisms so far of the emergency response, compared to previous flood disasters, with the cause – as much as the month's average rain in only three hours in the upper Calder Valley yesterday – beyond the wit of immediate counter measures. But Yorkshire Water faces a challenge in Goole, where the Carr Lane pumping station was flooded out of action and the company initially fudged about whether things had gone seriously wrong.
The local Conservative MP Andrew Percy tells the Yorkshire Post that 'putting the shutters up' had damaged credibility, especially as the station failed in similar circumstances last year. There is to be an emergency summit in Goole on Friday, while the station is still being repaired with pressure taken off it by mobile pumps and a three quarter mile bypass of temporary piping.
The North West's regional flood and coastal committee is also calling for major investment in improving drainage, after hearing that flood defences erected in the last three years by the Environment Agency almost certainly saved thousands of homes in the region from June's inundation. Although 400 homes in the region were damaged, mostly at Darwen, Croston and Crawshawbooth, at least 4000 were protected safely, which would not have been the case four years ago.
Places which benefited included Carlisle, Wigan, Keswick. Cockermouth, Nelson, Barrowford and Rochdale. The reconditioning of culverts is reckoned to have protected another thousand north western properties. The committee's chair Derek Antrobus says:
Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been disrupted by floods. We work to reduce risks precisely because we know the terrible impact it can have on people's lives.
There is no room for complacency. The flooding in Newcastle should be a major lesson for the urban areas in the North West. Our Victorian drainage systems cannot cope with the volume of rainfall in these big storms.
Changing weather patterns mean that heavy rainfall is likely to occur more often and local authorities need to make sure they take their new duties seriously to manage risk from this type of flooding.
The floods have also seen Summerbridge primary school in Nidderdale fill with four feet of water after another cloudburst, houses hit in Barnsley, a dogwalker swept into a beck at Harrogate and a pair of boaters rescued from a dinghy on the Don near Doncaster prison.
Serious sunshine is unlikely for most of us until towards the end of next week.