Anger as Yorkshire sees return of hell and high water
More than 100 vehicles were trapped, some of them submerged, when a 30-mile stretch of the A1 in North Yorkshire was closed, and fire crews had to rescue trapped drivers in Skeeby and at Whashton, near Richmond, and from Lock Lane, Castleford, West Yorkshire. Some were forced to clamber onto their vehicle’s roof to escape the rising water.
And a council care home at Gilling West, near Richmond, had to be evacuated when flood defences were breached. The Oswin Grove unit, home to 19 pensioners, was inundated by 3ft of water.
Firefighters carried all the residents to safety and the council laid on two coaches to collect them after family members also became trapped by the floodwaters. The pensioners – the oldest aged 92 – have been rehoused until the home can be reopened.
Police issued warnings over the flooding in Gilling West, and just to the south, the road into Newton-le-Willows was impassable.
Rail passengers did not escape the deluge, with travellers stranded and flooding affecting East Coast, CrossCountry and First TransPennine Express services.
East Coast Main Line services between York and Darlington were halted because of flooding at Eryholme, near Northallerton, and in the same area refuse collectors had to be rescued by firefighters when a river burst its banks and swamped their truck.
Householders and businesses have also been left feeling frustrated and angry.
In North Yorkshire, some drivers ignoring road closures to continue through floodwater caused “bow waves” which swamped roadside homes.
“It is causing anger and distress among residents,” said a council spokesman.
There was also anger in Leeds as the River Aire rose, threatening riverside businesses. Businessman Chris Howard, owner of the Aire Bar, accused the city council of “once again” failing city centre businesses by refusing to provide sandbags.
A spokesman for the bar said: “The situation mirrors the events of previous floods when the council only provided sandbags after a last minute U-turn brought on by the intervention of local and national media and Mr Howard’s much publicised threat to withhold business rates for his premises.”
A council spokesman said flood defence assistance was “prioritised on residential areas and highways where there is an imminent threat to flooding to residents who are vulnerable or unable to assist themselves”.
The spokesman said commercial premises could buy sandbags from “builders’ merchants and other outlets with their details able to be found in the local telephone directory”.
Some of the worst-hit areas were in North Yorkshire, where more than 30 schools were closed, mainly owing to flooded roads. The fire service said it had dealt with more than 270 calls in 24 hours and had asked for support from colleagues in Lancashire, Cleveland and Cumbria.
Fire crews dealt with flooding of homes and businesses in Catterick, Leeming, Leyburn, Northallerton and Whitby, among others.
In the centre of York people watched as the River Ouse, which had burst its banks, continued rising yesterday morning. One barge took on water and sank near the Museum Gardens but nobody was on board.
North Yorkshire Police said Hambleton and Richmondshire were the worst affected areas.
A caravan site on the outskirts of Knaresborough, near the River Nidd, was deluged, with caravans surrounded by water, and there was standing water near Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club and between Sutton under Whitestonecliffe and Thirsk, while flooding was reported at Morton-on-Swale and Great Langton, with the road blocked into Tunstall, near Catterick.
At Morpeth, in Northumberland, dozens of residents were moved out before the river broke its banks, and an estimated 40 stranded residents were rescued using lifeboats.
Some areas in northern England and Wales have seen more than a month’s rainfall in 24 hours, and more is on the way.
In Hebden Bridge, which has been hit by serious floods twice this summer, the Environment Agency have teams and water pumps on stand-by.
Meanwhile this weekend’s Huby and Sutton Show became the latest agricultural event to fall victim to the weather, with organisers announcing its cancellation yesterday. Organisers had moved the show from its traditional late-July slot to this weekend following the downpours during the summer.