Britain overwhelmed by widespread flooding

December 27, 2015 1:24 am

 The River Calder bursts its banks in the Calder Valley town of Mytholmroyd in England. Photo / Getty

was overwhelmed by the most widespread flooding for decades
yesterday as the dire left a trail of chaos stretching hundreds
of miles and affecting 2,000 homes.
Huge swathes of the North of
England, including parts of Manchester and Leeds and their satellite
towns, were under up to 6ft of water after a month’s rain fell in a
single day.
Thousands of residents were forced to flee their
homes and in some cases whole towns were cut off as the misery of
flooding spread across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, and
parts of Scotland and North Wales. And for the first time since the
waters started rising a month ago, densely populated urban areas were
engulfed.

There are more than 200 flood warnings across Britain as home and business owners prepare for serious flooding. Photo / Getty
There are more than 200 flood warnings across Britain as home and business owners prepare for serious flooding. Photo / Getty
Last night David Cameron tweeted: “My thoughts are with
people whose homes have been flooded. I’ll chair a Cobra [emergency
committee] call tomorrow to ensure everything is being done to help.” He
will visit affected areas tomorrow.

Flood waters were predicted to keep rising last night and
police were going door-to-door in Salford, Greater Manchester, urging
people to evacuate their homes with just what they could carry.
Ominously, a severe flood warning was also issued for Leeds city centre,
due to the immediate ‘”risk to life in the area”.
It came after a
day of extraordinary scenes when rivers and waterways broke their banks
and continued downpours caused flooding on already saturated ground.

Road signs are half submerged after the River Calder burst its bank's in the Calder Valley town of Mytholmroyd. Photo / Getty
Road signs are half submerged after the River Calder burst its bank’s in the Calder Valley town of Mytholmroyd. Photo / Getty
Two streets in Leeds city centre turned into ‘canals’ after
the River Aire reached its highest ever level and burst its banks.
Elsewhere astonishing pictures emerged of sunken towns which residents
said had begun to resemble ‘mini-Venices’. One West Yorkshire town,
Todmorden, was cut off completely.
Earlier, rescuers on an
inflatable dinghy pulled an elderly man from the sunroof of his Land
Rover, which drifted through the Yorkshire town of Mytholmroyd almost
completely submerged. He was said to be “seconds from drowning” when
saved.
As Ministers spoke of unprecedented rainfall, people in
the worst hit areas were urged to “flee for their lives”. Flood alerts
were issued across Greater Manchester where police chiefs told residents
to “protect your property by elevating valuable and sentimental items”.

In other developments:

•Environment Secretary Liz Truss abandoned her Christmas celebrations to visit the affected zone.
•The Met Office issued two severe weather warnings, meaning danger to life, for further rainfall.
•Thousands of homes were left without power, with engineers frantically working to restore supplies.
•Hundreds
of families in Lancashire and Yorkshire were rescued from waist-high
water by soldiers and emergency crews in dinghies.
•A fire broke
out on the banks of Irwell in nearby Radcliffe, Bury, after the swollen
river dislodged a gas pipe causing an explosion.
•Rain caused a
20ft sinkhole to open up on the M62 near Rochdale. In one of the most
shocking incidents the flooding destroyed a 200-year-old pub which sits
on a bridge over the River Irwell at Summerseat, Greater Manchester.

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