Yorkshire begins floods recovery but more rain due

Residents and volunteers help clear up the flood damage on Bridge Street, Tadcaster.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Residents and volunteers help clear up the flood damage on Bridge Street, Tadcaster.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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There could be more misery on the way for Yorkshire’s flood victims as Storm Frank is set to hit the region today.

The Environment Agency (EA) warned of the potential for further significant flooding especially in Cumbria, while Floods minister Rory Stewart said there could be a “very bad situation” ahead.

The ground is still saturated and river levels are at record highs.

For the moment, flood waters are receding but across the north of England over the past week more than 6,700 homes have flooded as river levels reached all time highs.

A Strategic Command Group comprising the emergency services, the Army, the Environment Agency and council officials, is monitoring the situation and holding regular meetings to share the latest information.

The Army are deploying resources in the most severely affected areas, particularly in Calderdale, where flooding has been extensive. One hundred service personnel are currently deployed in the area.

Police have also said they are worried about looting in Calderdale. They said they had received “a handful” of reports from the area that the people in vans were “taking dry goods left outside flooded homes”.

And Yorkshire residents are bracing themselves for the months of recovery to come following the weekend’s devastation.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said they had had 53 incidents of people becoming stuck in the floods, as well as five water rescues and two landslides.

One man was rescued after being pulled through the sunroof of his submerged Land Rover in Mytholmroyd moments before his car was flooded with water. The terrified driver was pulled through the small hole, while a crowd of onlookers applauded the fire crews.

Another rescue was of the driver of a HGV who had become stuck in flood water due to water getting into the engine of his vehicle. He was waiting for a recovery vehicle to arrive and the water had started to rise to around four feed high, almost entering the cab before the fire service arrived.

Area manager Ian Bitcon said: “We have seen tremendous resilience from the community at large with people coming out in droves to help others and are proud to play our part in that both during the emergency itself, but also in helping people return to some sort of normality.

“Crews including our control room staff have worked tirelessly and we have seen some real acts of bravery in the face of very real dangers.”

And across Yorkshire, the extent of the chaos caused by the floods is only now starting to become clear, with York and Tadcaster still facing extensive clean-up operations.

Part of Tadcaster Bridge dramatically crashed into the River Wharfe last night, dashing hopes that it would re-open yesterday.

Leeds City Council announced yesterday that Linton bridge, between Linton and Collingham, has also closed. Motorists were warned not to risk their safety by trying to cross the bridge, which will be closed for several weeks at least.

One of York’s most popular tourist attractions, the Jorvik Viking Centre, will remain closed for the forseeable future after its basement was flooded. Director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust Sarah Maltby said the staff at the centre built a barricade on Sunday to keep the water back from the flooding River Foss, but to no avail.