Communities pull together during weekend flooding
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Hebden Bridge and surrounding towns had another near miss flooding event on Sunday, 28 July, following a weekend of rain. By the end of Saturday, the rivers had not risen much - the water was soaking into the very dry grounds. However, the river continued to rise steadily after very heavy rain (over 50mm) on Sunday. Just before 9pm, the flood siren sounded in Todmorden, following by the Hebden Bridge flood siren just before 10pm.
The river peaked at around 11pm at 2.2 metres. On Boxing Day 2015, it reached over three and a half metres. A few more hours of heavy rain and the story would have been very different.
Wardens worked through the night
Local residents, flood wardens, Calderdale Council teams and organisations including the Environment Agency, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Water were amongst those braving the bad weather on Sunday and working throughout the night to help flood-affected communities.
Flooding in some cellars
The Environment Agency issued flood warnings across the Upper Calder Valley on Sunday and sounded the flood sirens. Surface water flooding led to a number of road closures, including roads into Todmorden. There were some cases of cellar flooding in homes. The Council set up an emergency hub to coordinate the joint response. People were urged not to travel due to hazardous driving conditions, and to report blocked gullies on the Council’s website.
Extra resources, measures and plans were in place before the flooding hit, with Council teams busy checking and clearing drains, culverts and trash screens in flood-prone areas last week and over the weekend to prepare for the forecast rain. During and after the flooding, additional teams, gully wagons and road sweepers were deployed to deal with flood-related issues. Teams are out today assessing any damage, continuing with the clean up and talking to local people and flood groups.
Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said, “Thank you to everyone who showed incredible kindness and resilience during this flooding incident. I can’t emphasise enough how grateful we are to all the volunteers, employees and members of the community who cared for each other, helped each other stay safe and cleaned up affected areas. I know how much this support is valued across Calderdale at such difficult times.
“It’s a harsh reality that climate change is making extreme weather more frequent, and sudden downpours and flash flooding are more likely in summer. It’s vital that we all do our bit to protect our distinctive environment.
“The Council and our partner organisations do all we can to build resilience and help reduce flooding impacts, but we can only build walls so high and the impacts of flash flooding are extremely difficult to predict. So we urge everyone in flood-risk areas to be prepared and protect themselves from future flooding. It’s really important to check your flood risk, update your flood plan, sign up for flood warnings and take a combination of measures to prevent flood water from getting into your property and to minimise any damage caused if it does enter.”
More rain is forecast for this week and there are yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms in the region on Tuesday and Wednesday. Follow @metofficeYorks and @metoffice on Twitter for updates.
Calderdale Council is keeping a close eye on forecasts and is prepared for any further issues.
Don't drive through floodwater
As always, do not drive through floodwater, and if you do have to drive during periods of heavy rainfall, slow down to go through puddles to avoid damage to vehicles and flooding to people’s property.
For updates and advice before, during and after flooding, follow the Council @Calderdale on Twitter and visit www.eyeoncalderdale.com
Facebook's Calder Valley Flood Support for valuable information whenever there are fears of flooding.