Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Flood chaos brings death and destruction to UK

Cars Struggling threw the floods as rain as Heavy Rain hits across Northern Ireland
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
Lisburn Road flooding tonight...

Widespread disruption is expected to blight major transport routes for a second day after fierce storms and torrential downpours caused flash floods across parts of the UK.

Train services between Scotland and England have been axed in the wake of yesterday's freak deluges that saw rail lines blocked by flood water, landslips and fallen trees.

One man died after being swept away in a Shropshire stream, while roads were closed, properties were flooded and hundreds of homes were evacuated.

Northern England, the Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland were worst hit by battering storms that brought lightening, giant hail stones and and reports of damage from squalls and tornadoes.

But in stark contrast, southern parts of Britain enjoyed dry weather and temperatures up to 28C.

East Coast Trains said it had cancelled all services between Newcastle and Edinburgh today following floods in Cumbria and near Newcastle and a landslip near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The West Coast line was also badly hit by the storms.

An East Coast spokesman said there would be no replacement bus services or alternative transport arrangements between Scotland and England, adding: "Network Rail is working hard to fix the line quickly following various problems caused by the severe weather experienced yesterday. The line is unlikely to re-open until tomorrow morning. Tickets valid today and yesterday will be valid on Saturday."

Swathes of the Midlands were hit by intense downpours yesterday, with some parts receiving almost an inch (22mm) of rain in just an hour - a third of the average rainfall for the whole month of June.

The North Tyneside area was also left reeling by the intense downpours and flooding that forced the closure of roads, the Metro network, The Tyne Tunnel and Newcastle's MetroCentre.

There were also widespread powercuts in the area with 15,000 homes still facing black-outs last night as Northern Power Grid engineers worked to resolve the problem.

All Metros remained at a standstill overnight, while the Tyne Tunnel was reopened after the floods subsided.

North Tyneside Council said it dealt with more than 200 flood-related incidents in the borough and that at least eight schools will be closed today due to flooding or water damage following the afternoon deluge.

Public buildings, including leisure centres and libraries were also closed and are expected to remain shut today, while residents in Gateshead, Wallsend, West Monkseaton, Longbenton were evacuated from their homes as drainage systems became overwhelmed by rainfall.

Meanwhile, maths teacher Mike Ellis was killed after being swept away by floodwater in a stream at Bittlerley, near Ludlow, Shropshire, yesterday morning.

And a 90-year-old man was among a number of people rescued from vehicles by fire crews following flash flooding in the Bridgnorth area of the county.

Northern Ireland and the Irish republic were also hit by floods and at the height of disruption, more than 10,000 homes in the Cork area and 1,000 in Northern Ireland suffered blackouts.

Flood damage hit hundreds of homes and businesses in the affluent Cork suburb of Douglas, while parts of Belfast and County Antrim were also badly affected.

The Environment Agency has 10 flood warnings in place in the Midlands, North East and North West, but the worst of the weather looks to be over.

Nick Prebble, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather forecasting arm of the Press Association, said: "Today there will be a mixture of sunshine and showers across the UK with temperatures cooling off.

"Most parts of Britain could experience the odd passing shower during the day, but the focus of the heavy downpours will be across Scotland.

"Northern parts could also have a few thunder storms but the weather doesn't appear to be as severe as yesterday."

The floods are the latest to hit parts of the UK, as this month shapes up to be one of the wettest Junes on record - possibly surpassing June 2007 when heavy rain caused widespread flooding.

More than a thousand homes and businesses were flooded last weekend after torrential downpours across the north, with a month's rain falling in 24 hours in some places.

Earlier in the month, flash floods brought havoc to communities in west Wales following heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, a London to Glasgow Virgin Train service was stranded in the Lake District for more than two hours between two landslides before being diverted.

A fire then broke out in the front coach of the train later in the journey forcing the carriage to be evacuated near Lockerbie.

Standing water on major routes was expected to cause problems on the morning commute across Tyneside.

Northumbria Police reported that Askew Road in Gateshead - a vital link between the A1 and Newcastle city centre - was shut.

In North Tyneside, Backworth Lane in Backworth and the A189 roundabout junction with Westmoor, Salters Lane, was closed.

Police said there was only a limited service on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Please note although most main routes across the region have reopened, local flooding is expected to still be causing problems in local roads.

"There will be ongoing cleaning of many roads across the local authority areas as debris will need to be removed.

"Please take care on our roads while this clean-up takes place."



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