Busy night for firefighters as flooding brings chaos to Norfolk and Cambridgeshire

Tesco closed due to flooding. Picture: Steve Williams. Tesco closed due to flooding. Picture: Steve Williams.

Friday, August 8, 2014
9:08 PM

Heavy rain and flash floods have wreaked havoc across part of the region with firefighters being inundated with calls in West Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

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Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have been called out to more than 40 flood-related incidents in the west of the county since 5.20pm and are still dealing with most of them.

There are currently ongoing incidents in Emneth, Beachamwell, East Winch, Upwell, Downham Market, King’s Lynn, Marshland St James, Elm, Wisbech, Ten Mile Bank, Walpole St Peter, Three Holes, Necton, Swaffham and East Walton.

Three properties on South Green, Terrington St Clement were flooded and firefighters used pumps to remove the water after being called to the incident just after 6pm.

A fire crew from King’s Lynn used a light portable pump and submersible pump to remove water after being called to reports of flooding at Hollycroft Road, Emneth at 5.20pm.

Fire officers have been assessing flooding at Isle Bridge Road, Outwell while officers have given advice about flooding at Three Holes this evening too.

Earlier today 500 shoppers had to be evacuated from Tesco, part of a riverbank collapsed and many roads flooded within minutes of torrential rain hitting March.

At about 2pm, Tesco took the “unprecedented” decision to evacuate its Hostmoor Avenue store, with staff wheeling some customers on trolleys to their cars.

Cambridgeshire highways engineers and Fenland District Council’s Street Scene were sent to the bank to manage the situation, and people were warned to stay clear of the site.

Houses all over the town were affected by the floods. On Dartford Road, people were frantically trying to pump water, which in some instances was six to eight inches high, from their gardens. There were also reports of flooding on Alpha Street, Gresley Way, Boundary Drive and Green Street.

Even the police station was affected, with a fire crew pumping water out of its basement.

Group Commander Ryan Stacey, from the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have received a high volume of calls in Cambridgeshire this afternoon relating to flooding.

“Between 1pm and 5.30pm, Combined Fire Control received more than 115 calls relating to flooding incidents in the county. A majority of these were for the March area.

“We are prioritising calls and sending crews and pumping equipment to those who are identified as a risk to life.

“We have seven crews currently in the March, Doddington and Wisbech St Mary areas, assisting with evacuating residents, salvaging and pumping water out of homes. The exact number of properties affected cannot be confirmed but we understand that we are assisting currently at least 60 properties.

“If you do not need to visit or pass through this area, then we would ask you to avoid it.

“We have also received calls to reports of flooded properties in the areas of Bar Hill, Toft, Oakington, Caldecote, Swavesey and Rampton.

“This is a very busy time for all of our staff so once again, please only call 999 if there is an immediate risk to life.

“If you think your property is affected by flooding then turn off your electricity supply and prepare to move belongings from the ground floor.

“During this kind of weather we would also urge motorists to drive slowly and carefully, and allow extra room to slow down and stop.

“Don’t try to drive through standing water - as well as the water damaging your car, there may be hazards under the water you can’t see. If you see a sign to say that the road is closed due to flooding, remember that the sign is there for a reason. Don’t try to drive through or you might get stuck.”

The Met Office have issued a yellow warning of rain which is in force for East Anglia and southeast England as well as northern England and much of the Midlands.

Rainfall totals of 20-30mm are likely in a short space of time, perhaps exceeding 50mm very locally, whilst other locations within the warning area may see very little.

There is the potential for severe weather over much of the UK during Sunday as a depression tracks over, or close to, the UK.

Do you have photos of the flooding? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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