LANDSLIDES block roads, properties flood and rivers burst their banks in these images which show the devastating effects caused by torrential rainfall this week.
The region suffered the heaviest rainfall in the county, with 78mm of rain falling on Whitby Community College through Saturday to Monday.
Whitby fire service watch manager Brian Oakley said that from their first call at 5.57am on Sunday, the crew were responding to calls nonstop until 6pm that evening.
He said: “We would turn up at one job and control would say ‘can you let us know when you’re done because we’ve got another one coming in’.”
One of the first calls they received was to Linden Close in Briggswath, where around 71 homes were at risk of flooding after a water culvert became blocked by debris. “Our concern is electrics and the safety of the people,” added WM Oakley, who explained that the problem was solved by a firefighter going in to the water and unblocking the culvert by hand. “It was like pulling the plug out of a bath,” he said.
The fire brigade would continue their exhausting work throughout the day, helping to pump water from residents’ homes. However, WM Oakley said that when people’s homes and livelihoods are at risk, tiredness is not a factor, adding: “The day goes that quick because you are helping people, one after another. When you turn up and someone’s house has got a river going through it, you feel for them and help as much as you can.”
Going from call to call the crew eventually made their way to Commondale where they were assisting with the recovery of a car that had been crushed under a bridge. However, they were then redirected to reports of a motorcyclist who had been swept of his bike in Osmotherley. “He went off a 15-foot waterfall and was clinging on for his life,” said the firefighter. Whitby’s fire crew were able to hand out life jackets and rescued the man using a basket stretcher.
The long day was made more difficult by a prank call that had been made the previous evening. At around 12.30am a group of partygoing ladies on Wellington Road called the emergency services because, according to WM Oakley, they wanted to meet some firemen.
The following two days would be just as busy for Whitby’s fire crews, with the team responding to many shouts including the Aelfleda Terrace emergency and also helping with flooding at Clark’s Yard, off Church Street. “Lavender Cottage was about two-feet feet deep with water coming up through the floor so we pumped that out for him,” said WM Oakley.
The region’s roads were also severely disrupted by flooding, with badly-hit areas including Danby, Newholm, The Carrs, Dunsley, Stainsacre Lane in Whitby, the A174 south of Hinderwell, Egton, Ellerby, Goathland and the B1266 Mickleby to Scaling Dam road. The heavy rain also caused a landslide in Sandsend, blocking one lane of the A174.
David Creek, maintenance manager for NYCC highways department, said: “We’re checking the network for problems that may become apparent with standing water. This will include checking the bridges that have been subject to adverse loads and so will continue for some time to come.”
He explained that at this early stage it is impossible to estimate the monetary cost of a clean-up operation, but added: “The important thing is that, to my knowledge, no-one has been injured by the floods.”
The unusual levels of flooding is believed to be a result of the unusually wet summer, which has saturated the ground and raised the water table throughout the area.
For the full details of how much rain fell last week, see the weather records on page 8.