Saturday, February 08, 2014

Floods hit east Britain

Those in the the east of Britain might have thought they had escaped the flooding that has plagued much of the south-west and brought misery to hundreds of thousand of families and businesses. However that all changed this week as incessant rain finally forced river levels up to the point where many burst their banks.

While not as serious as the situation seen in Somerset and other parts of the south-west, for many the resultant floods were just as upsetting and disruptive for many.

Essex was one of the worst hit counties in the east especially to the north-west of the county. The river at the picturesque village of Finchingfield burst its banks after torrential rain fell on Thursday night. By the following morning the village had a what resembled a large lake instead of a river. Teenagers joyfully cycled through the water which was more than a metre deep in parts, though local businesses looked on concerned as water levels lapped at their doors.

The B1053 which runs from Wethersfield, through Finchingfield, to Saffron Walden was almost impassable at many points and several vehicles became stuck.

The owner of one BMW needed the assistance of a local man to tow him to safety using his Range Rover after becoming stuck in water more than half a metre deep [pictured].

Many motorists failed to take the advice of the local fire service which were called to dozens of incidents where cars had become stranded. The Essex County Fire and Rescue Service urged drivers to exercise “a little common sense and consideration” when confronted with flooded roads.

Not only were drivers creating problems for themselves, they were also creating problems for others. Inconsiderate motorists continued to drive into water, creating waves which pushed water into homes near the road and in some cases trapping themselves, their passengers and their vehicles in the water.

Assistant Divisional Officer Dave Moore, who was on scene at several flooding incidents, said, “It beggars belief, we have signs telling motorists the roads are closed and instead of stopping and finding another way around they are accelerating into the water.”

“This creates a wave which pushes water from the road into people’s homes. It is both inconsiderate and stupid. There are fire crews, signs saying the road is closed and deep water in the road and that is not enough to stop people driving into water.”

Just 60 cm of water is enough to float a car and 15 cm of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars. This depth can cause loss of control or possible stalling as water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake. “When confronted with flood water the best thing to do is to find an alternative route,” ADO Dave Moore added.

Fire crews meanwhile attended multiple flooding incidents in the Saffron Walden, Newport and Stansted areas of the county. In Saffron Walden soldiers from the nearby Carver Barracks added support to those affected by the floods, helping to sandbag properties [BBC].  

The occupants of 20 flats in Radwinter Road, Saffron Walden, were helped to safety by fire crews. Across the north of the county thousands of pupils were also affected having been sent home because of the flooding.

Meanwhile the Environment Agency issued flood warnings for five rivers; the Stour, Brook, Chelmer, Colne and Box. The flood risk is unlikely to diminish in the coming days as the Met Office forecast heavy rain for much of next week.

tvnewswatch, Essex

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