Escaped sheep, falling trees and flooding: how one borough fared after ‘torrential’ weather
PUBLISHED: 18:31 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:38 30 September 2020
Simon Luckman Weather Photography/Jason Silom/Paul Rice at Broads' Watch
Clean-up operations have run on into their fifth day as stricken residents in one coastal borough continue to reel from the worst September weather the county has seen in decades.
Between Thursday and Sunday, Norfolk was lashed by gale-force winds and torrential rain.
In Great Yarmouth - one of the areas worst affected - this meant felled trees, sandstorms, flooded rivers and even runaway sheep.
Acle parish councillor Jackie Clover, who runs Facebook group All About Acle, said a message came through on Friday from a resident named Andrew King telling her there were sheep in danger.
She said: “A fallen tree in the field by Pedro’s restaurant had knocked open the gate.
“If just one of those sheep had decided to head towards Acle Bridge, we’d have had a real situation on our hands. This was 5pm, in terrible conditions, with all the commuters on their way back from Norwich.
“I decided to head down there in my hi-vis jacket, and a small group of us rounded them up in the torrential rain. We waited there until the owner arrived, who came with a chainsaw and mended the fence.
“I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d just left them there. You know that old adage - where one sheep leads the rest will follow. It would have been a massacre.
“In hindsight, the whole thing must have looked almost comical.”
Likewise for Paul Rice, a volunteer flood warden and manager of the Broads’ Watch facebook group, the past few days have been a “manic time” for the Broads.
“We’re still dealing with flooding around the rivers today”, he said. “It’s pretty manic. The tide is locked in and the water can’t go anywhere on the Ant, Burn and Thurne. It’s almost impossible to get under Potter Heigham and Ludham Bridge because the water levels are so high.
“And if someone can actually get under the bridges, if they drive even slightly too fast it’s forcing waves of water up into people’s homes.
“In places like Wroxham and Ludham, crews from Richardson’s and Herbert Woods are ballasting their hire boats to help get them moving again.”
In a statement, the Broads Authority revealed its rangers had cleared high fallen trees and raised sunken boats.
They added: “Water levels are still high, with overtopping at moorings, making it very slippery. Please always wear a life jacket, take extra care when mooring and getting on and off boats.”
Meanwhile in Gorleston, flooding on Bells Marsh Road and Dock Tavern Lane on Friday was another “near-miss” for beleaguered residents.
Adam Willis, who owns Bells Marsh Garage, said: “Flooding in this area has been an issue for years, and you’d think the powers that be would have a hold on it by now.
“There’s some pumps near the Morrison’s car park which are supposed to be automatic, and turn on when water reaches a certain float switch level.
“But normally we have to ring the water company to ask for them to be turned on manually - and by that point it’s too late.”
Ms Willis said this time the water was covering car wheels and edging up towards peoples’ front doors - but was nowhere near as bad as the 1990s, when sewage spilled into his workshop.
Meanwhile Lucinda Bullimore and her family in Caister faced extreme weather of another kind.
“There was a sandstorm on the beach at the weekend. It looked like we were walking on the moon,” she said.
In response to the gusts and heavy rain - which is set to persist for the rest of the week - Great Yarmouth Borough Council has said its ground teams will be on the look out for felled trees and other damages.
You may also want to watch:
In a statement, it said: “The council responded to a number of wind-related issues, mostly fallen trees and branches, over the weekend, with a team out on both Saturday and Sunday.
“The council’s street cleansing and grounds teams will be out as normal throughout the week for additional clean-up, while localised flooding will be dealt with by the county council and the highways authority.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.