Residents left ‘numb’ over severe floods

  • 5ft deep water leaves families devastated
  • 20 homes evacuated as waters rise
  • Severe flood warning still in place

The Fylde coast today remains on high alert after flooding forced people out of their homes.

Residents are praying for a break from the heavy rain that stretched emergency services to their limits.

Julie McCord is consoled by a friend while inspecting the damage to her home in St Michaels after Storm Desmond caused flooding in the area

Julie McCord is consoled by a friend while inspecting the damage to her home in St Michaels after Storm Desmond caused flooding in the area

More than 20 homes were evacuated in St Michaels after flood defences on Hall Lane were breached, leaving parts of the village under 5ft of water. Firefighters today said they had ‘never known anything like it’.

One resident said he and his wife were left ‘numb’ when their home, on Blackpool Road, flooded.

Andrew McCord, 49, said: “My wife Julie woke up on Saturday morning and it was about three feet up the wall at the back of the house.

“It started filling underneath the floor boards on Saturday and at about 4pm we could start to see the damp appearing on the carpet. Now it’s just past the skirting boards.

We will try to spend Christmas at home, we’re not cancelling it - what can we do? It’s happened, we can’t change it.

Andrew McCord

“We have no upstairs so we just lifted everything electrical on top of wooden things like cabinets to raise them off the ground, and switched the electricity off.”

The couple were planning to spend last night in their motor home on a friend’s drive.

Mr McCord added: “We will try to spend Christmas at home, we’re not cancelling it - what can we do? It’s happened, we can’t change it.”

Around 45 homes in the village were identified as likely to be affected by flooding on Sunday night and the decision was taken to evacuate around half, with those affected taken to the YMCA at Garstang.

Martha and Abbie Cornthwaite rescue their nativity costumes from St Michaels on Wyre CE Primary School after Storm Desmond caused flooding in the area

Martha and Abbie Cornthwaite rescue their nativity costumes from St Michaels on Wyre CE Primary School after Storm Desmond caused flooding in the area

St Michael’s on Wyre CE School, on Hall Lane, was closed yesterday while flooding caused chaos on the roads, leaving people stranded.

Lancashire County Council said the village was ‘inaccessible’ from the West, as the A586 was completely submerged.

One resident said the water was up to 5ft deep in places. Another, Beth Peters, said the village was ‘like a lake’ when she went out on Sunday.

The 22-year-old, of Garstang Road, added: “The water was just running out from the river onto the bowling green. It was still flowing into the school so they couldn’t even pump it away.”

Flooding in St Michaels as seen from above. Photo: Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Flooding in St Michaels as seen from above. Photo: Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue took around 450 calls over the weekend and turned out to 350 separate incidents.

Spokesman John Taylor said: “Crews said they had never seen anything like it – it has been a testing time.

“But the way everybody has mucked in and helped out, I honestly believe everybody has done really well.”

He said firefighters and the Environment Agency were using ‘shed-sized’ pumps yesterday to clear the water, while the army was called in to repair the flood defences.

Wyre Council officers, who launched a drone to help map the water’s movement yesterday, worked round the clock to get around 5,000 sandbags out to affected residents, while police and firefighters helped get people to safety.

On Saturday night, the council’s officers were first on the scene at Cornmill nursing Home, in Garstang, where the water level was rising.

A spokesman said their fast action to pump the water out prevented vulnerable residents from having to be evacuated.

Coun Roger Berry, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for flood defences, praised their ‘tireless’ efforts.

He added: “We have filled and delivered around 5,000 sandbags to collection points in the worst affected areas and helped to pump water out of properties, in some cases preventing people from having to be evacuated.

“Officers remain in St Michael’s and surrounding areas to protect homes and help those who have had to leave.”

Nearby sports pitches for Garstang GC, Garstang RUFC and Garstang CC were all deluged, with water with at least two of the pitches resembling lakes rather than fields.

Several matches were postponed and Mick Sturbs, from Garstang FC, said on Twitter: “The Riverside is now just The River as the pitch, clubhouse and changing rooms are currently 3ft under water.”

Coun Vivien Taylor, who represents Wyreside on Lancashire County Council, praised the response of emergency services and said she hoped the worst had passed ‘provided we don’t get the level of rain we’ve had in recent days’.

She said: “It’s amazing what community spirit can do in situations like this – friends and neighbours know how valuable their support is to people who are suffering.”

A severe flood warning, meaning there is a risk to life, last night remained in place in St Michaels. Flood warnings, urging immediate action, were also in effect on the Fylde coast.

Rain is forecast to continue this week, with a Met Office yellow weather warning in force in the north of the county tomorrow.

Meanwhile John Robert, from Blackpool, told how he was left with ‘no way out’ when he got caught up in the floods in Kendal on Saturday.

The 60-year-old was at the opening of his festive store at Westmorland Shopping Centre and found himself unable to get back to see his elderly mother when the downpour struck.

He said: “The flooding was up to peoples waist and the only way of transport was via special high tide police vehicles.

“Hotels were completely flooded and access on foot was completely out of the question.

I have to say the way the community grouped together was just beautiful, almost like a scene out of WW2 with everyone helping each other to get to shelter.”

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