Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Flood – the bits I saw - Saturday afternoon

2.30pm at the Red Bull: Staithes Lane was under four foot of water with several stranded cars, rising rapidly. Lots of run-off down Dark Lane from both Morrisons filling station and down Stanley Terrace from the bus station into Staithes Lane. Several elderly and poorly people trapped in both Staithes Lane and Wellwood Gardens, but no apparent plans for evacuation. High Stanners and Middle Greens were reportedly being evacuated.

3.30pm Text from Staithes Lane resident saying water was halfway up the stairs, electricity cut-off. Water from Terrace Car Park and Library moving up Dark Lane. Dark Lane flooding to north. One fire engine monitoring Terrace Car Park flooding. Phoned 999 call to alert rescue team on need for evacuation in Staithes Lane. Another fire engine arrived within five minutes – firemen starting ‘assessing problem’, identifying evacuation need.

4pm Third fire engine arrived. Water from Terrace Car Park now flowing down Dark Lane into Staithes Lane and Highways Depot. Dark Lane impassable to north. Burnside Terrace at risk from flooding from springs/drains in front gardens.

4.30pm Vet arrived to evacuate animals from surgery. No boat available for humans (or animals). River Wansbeck effectively flowing past the Red Bull with water up to window sills. Stanley Terrace becoming impassable. Decided to cancel the farmers’ market!

5-5.30pm Fire crew requisitioned a skip from Morrisons and used it as a substitute boat to start evacuation.

6.30pm Finish phoning round the farmers’ markets producers.

8pm Peak of flood. Reported 14 ft deep in some houses. Nearly all residents evacuated from Staithes Lane, though people left in Wellwood Gardens overnight.

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