UK & World News

  • 7 September 2013, 20:00

Flooding: Homes Evacuated And Cars Swept Away

Dozens of people were evacuated from their homes and cars and bridges swept away in torrential rain in north-east England.

Firefighters rescued residents and motorists in Saltburn, where two drivers watched their vehicles carried away by the flood water as the rain lashed the region on Friday.

Across the other side of the country a freak hail storm left parts of Cornwall covered in a blanket of white.

Crews from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Redcar were alerted amid fears that the cars swept away still had their occupants inside.

Dave Cocks, from Redcar RNLI, said weather systems recorded 8mm of rainfall per hour.

It started mid-morning and "increased in ferocity" throughout the afternoon. Flooding in Redcar began about 3pm, and badly hit areas such as Loftus and Skinningrove, peaking about 7pm," he said.

"It was very intense in a very short time."

He went on: "There's an area at Saltburn very close to the sea where two streams converge and then flow out to the sea.

"They were both extremely swollen with flood water, and coincidentally there was quite a high tide.

"The initial report was that a bridge had collapsed and two cars swept into flood water, and two occupants had been carried out to sea.

"We were preparing to launch when we got a call saying the police helicopter and fire services were on the scene and were able to confirm that everyone had been accounted for."

Cleveland fire fighters were joined by crews from North Yorkshire and Durham and Darlington as they carried out rescues at more than 10 different locations.

The fire service received 230 calls between 3.50pm and 10.40pm for assistance due to flooding, particularly in East Cleveland and Hartlepool.

A spokeswoman said: "Around 200 of the calls came within the three hour period between 6pm and 9pm.

"Appliances from across the brigade were committed to dealing with these incidents assisted by appliances from North Yorkshire and Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services.

"We affected the rescue of at least 20 people in over 10 different locations where life was considered to be in danger or imminent danger from rising flood water.

"This included rescues from houses and vehicles, and in some cases involved the brigade rescue boat.

"During this extremely busy period the brigade also attended two road traffic collisions and a dwelling fire."

A Cleveland Police spokesman said properties in the Mersey Road area of Redcar were evacuated and all occupants had now returned home.

Several bungalows occupied by elderly residents were still inhabitable and temporary accommodation being sought for them.

He added: "There was a report from harbour police that there was a male on the roof of his car at the bottom of Tees Dock Road in Middlesbrough. He managed to get to safety."