When the floods came ... village flooded, landslip, boats damaged

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Heavy rainfall, storms and high tides left Staithes and the surrounding villages with a clean-up operation after the area was battered by the worst weather in living memory.

Staithes Beck became a torrent last Friday afternoon with debris, including a fridge, television and hay bales, flying down the village towards the harbour.

Fishing boats were left with gaping holes in after being smashed around the harbour and one was swept out to sea, owned by fisherman Stuart Porritt, and is now classed as ship wreck.

Sean Baxter, lifeboat launchman and a fisherman himself, told the Gazette: “There has always been flash flooding down the river but this was one of the worst in living memory.”

He said the storm had been brewing for about two hours and the peak lasted just an hour but hardened villages who are used to extreme weather were taken aback by the velocity at which the water sped down the beck and out to sea.

Mr Baxter said: “There was one boat a total write off and lost all together out at sea, there was one smashed in the river and a write-off and two others damaged. They were all pleasure fishing boats.

“The amount of debris and branches was phenomenal. To my knowledge none of the houses were flooded, it was literally all the way down the river and it just surged. It was the velocity, I have never seen it come as fast.”

In the hamlet of Dalehouse properties were left underwater and cars submerged while residents could only look on in amazement at how fast the water came and went.

Gerard Welford (52) of Dale House Farm said by the time people realised what was happening there was not time to act.

The village was caught between the flow of water from two rivers at Newton Mulgrave and Gringle and Roxby Beck.

Some of the holiday cottages on his land were under three feet of water as were four other houses and three vehicles and he had to rescue a horse and foal from one of his fields which was also flooded.

He said: “It came so quickly. By the time we realised the village was flooded. We didn’t have the time to do anything to be honest.

“The horse was startled because there were some silage bales that went down the river too.

“My mother used to tell a tale of hen huts going away when I was younger.

“I have been here all my life and this is only the second time I have seen it like that. The last time was ten years ago.”

With climate change and mixed up seasons Mr Welford, whose wife Elaine sent us the dramatic shots, believes it will become a more common occurrence.

He added: “With the way things are happening, if we get freak weather it will happen again and the tide was in as well. It was the fact that it came down so quickly, it came in an hour and went as fast as it came.”

Also, down in Robin Hood’s Bay walkers spotted a beech tree was washed up on the beach and some of the cliffs appeared to have slipped too.