SEVERE flooding damaged homes and businesses in Whalley after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours on Friday.
A major clean-up mission is now under way with some businesses having to close for a few weeks after the River Calder burst its banks causing flooding in Whalley, Billington and Mitton.
The Environment Agency issued flood warnings to over 4,700 homes across the North West on Friday and a flood alert was issued to residents living in King Street, Princess Street, Queen Street, Whalley Abbey, Judge Walmsley Mill and Hackings Caravan Park just before 9 p.m.
Emergency services attended the scene and fire-fighters in Clitheroe received more than 400 calls from worried residents. Two fire-fighters battled through 18 inches of water as they rescued a man and a 15-week-pregnant woman trapped in a car along Elker Lane, Billington, and another man who had become stranded in his car on the same road. Fire officers from Great Harwood helped in the rescue mission and worked through the night on Friday evacuating residents from flooded homes and ensuring they were looked after.
Dave McGrath, watch manager for Clitheroe Fire Station, said: “We had an extremely busy weekend responding to incidents. Several homes along King Street and Church Lane were flooded and with the help of officers from Great Harwood we spent the entire Friday night in waist-high water pumping water out of homes and ensuring flood victims were safe.”
One of the businesses hit by the flooding was the Toby Jug Tea Rooms in King Street. Marie and Peter Ireland, who have run the business for the past 26 years, have this week spoken of their struggle to return to normal life. “The tea shop was completely flooded, with furniture, freezers, everything ruined and it is going to cost thousands of pounds in repairs,” said Marie.
“This is our home as well and it was terrible on Friday seeing the water come in. We have spent the entire weekend sweeping up with the help of our daughter, Jane and our son-in-law Nick.
“We are going to remain closed for the next couple of weeks until the insurance assessors decide the way forward. Nevertheless, we are thankful to the emergency services for all their help.”
In another incident, Phil Calvert, whose daughter’s house is at Woodfields, Whalley, took rolls of lawn turf built them up at her house to stop the water coming in. He also managed to stop four neighbouring properties from flooding.
Now officials at the Environment Agency are urging residents in the Ribble Valley to prepare personal flood plans should the severe wet weather strike again.
Mr Steve Moore, the North West Director for the Environment Agency, said: “We are pleased that the worst of the rain has now passed and that communities can begin to recover from the disruption that this weekend’s floods has caused. Our thoughts are with the people affected, as we know that the post-flood clean up can still be a difficult time.
“As people have seen first hand this weekend, flooding can cause huge worry and heartache, and we urge people to always be prepared for the risk. People can sign up to Floodline warnings on our website which will give them vital advance notice and time to prepare.”
“Ring Floodline on 0845 988 1188 to find out if you are eligible to get an Environment Agency flood warning.”