Sunday, 16 January 2011

Flood Saturday

There are floods everywhere, courtesy of La Nina - the bad girl of world weather systems. On TV the tragedies of Brazil, Australia and Sri Lanka fill the screen. Here in Cumbria we too have once again been inundated by a huge storm coming in off the Atlantic. Weather warnings went out on Friday night and then became more particular on Saturday morning, with Appleby being the lead feed on Yahoo.co.uk news as well as on Sky and the BBC. Flood gates were closed to protect the town and the low-lying road alongside the river was also closed and sandbagged.

What it normally looks like

yesterday, beginning to flood

The mill is outside the town and can’t be protected. We just have to sit and watch the river creep towards the building and make sure that everything that might float away is tied down. The speed and menace of the water is horrifying; even knee deep you can feel it tugging at your legs to pull you down. I took photographs at around 4.30pm as it was getting dark, but high water didn’t happen until about 2am, so it was a long night. Fortunately, although we had 160mm of rain in only a few hours, the way it fell meant that we avoided catastrophic water levels.

The disappearing landscape

The biggest flood we’ve ever had, in 2005, had the river almost 20 feet (6.2 metres) above it’s normal height. Last night was probably only 2 and a half metres. So it penetrated into the lowest part of the ground floor and drowned the garden but didn’t threaten the structure. We had the windows securely boarded up to protect them from floating debris. This is obviously going to be the winter for extreme weather.

5 comments:

  1. What a horrible experience, and one you seem to go through several times a year.
    Be careful, and stay safe.

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  2. I do hope that's the last of it for this winter.

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  3. Yes, so do I, but suspect not - February is usually the bad flood month. We usually have the river lapping the doorstep two or three times each winter, but this is the second time this winter that the river has been in the building and it's barely January. So this is an unusual year. Watching the raging river is both scary and exhilarating - an odd feeling.

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  4. Stay well.
    This does rather seem to be the year of the floods. Hopefully the weather will subside and be unexpectedly calm for the rest of the year :)

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