Firefighters came to the aid of residents stranded by flooding after half a month’s rainfall hit the Peterborough area in just 12 hours.
About 40 firefighters spent hours wading through flood water in Alconbury and Alconbury Weston, Huntingdonshire, yesterday afternoon and evening (Wednesday, March 9) after dozens of homes were flooded and residents stranded.
In total, about 12 people were given assistance by the fire service to leave their homes, and seven dogs and two cats were rescued. Fire crews also gave reassurance to dozens of other residents.
Between 7am and 9pm yesterday Combined Fire Control received 15,999 calls about flooding that were not attended by fire crews as there was no immediate risk to life. At least five of these calls were to cars in flood water.
The affected roads where crews worked were: High Street, Brookside, Lords Way, Hammerton Road and Rusts Lane.
Station Commander Bruce Parcell said: “We would like to remind residents to only call 999 in a flooding situation if there is an immediate risk to life. If you drive through flood water and get stuck, we will not tow your car out.”
The rescue operations came after the Met Office weather station in Wittering, in the Peterborough area, recorded 31.2mm of rain between 3am and 3pm yesterday, half a month’s rainfall.
That was the fifth highest amount in the UK with Bedford seeing 35.6mm in that time. However, the Met Office believes Peterborough has seen the last of the rain for the moment.
Trev Robbins-Pratt, founder of Peterborough Weather Watch, said his station in Stanground had recorded 31.8mm of rainfall, a total he said was one of the highest he had recorded. This was over a 24 hour period yesterday.
A flood warning remains in place on North Bank which was shut from 8pm last night while the Household Recycling Centre in Welland Road is closed today due to the weather.
The A14 is also closed this morning due to flooding - the westbound carriageway is shut between the A1 at Brampton Hut and junction 19 at Easton.
There is heavy traffic back to Brampton and a diversion is in place.
One lane of the eastbound carriageway is also closed between Spladwick and junction 18 and Brampton Hut due to flooding.
The diversion is causing heavy traffic and delays on the A1 at Peterborough and on the A605 towards Oundle.
For people walking into work on the path behind Asda in Rivergate, the situation is not much better with flooding from the River Nene forcing walkers and cyclists to take an alternative path.
But for some the wet weather is just an excuse to get their wellies on including four-year-old Ava-Rose McAllister, pictured outside her home in the appropriately named Water Lane in Thurlby, a village in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire.
Returning to last night’s flooding, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service was called at 5.03pm to reports of vulnerable residents stuck in their homes in High Street, Alconbury Weston, owing to flood water.
As more calls came in, five fire engines, two rescue vehicles, a command unit and fire officers were sent to the area.
A number of properties were affected by flood water and fire crews focused their efforts on assisting those residents who were vulnerable or elderly.
Firefighters donned in in-water suits used boats and rescue sleds to knock on the doors of residents, check they were okay and provide assistance to those who needed it. Some people chose to remain in their properties.
Firefighters also used rescue sleds to help carers reach residents who required medical assistance, which enabled them to ensure medicine was administered and those most vulnerable in the community were cared for.
Station Commander Parcell said: “Fire crews worked tirelessly alongside members of the community to ensure these residents were looked after.
“The efforts of the firefighters and helpers really were tremendous in hard, cold conditions and we must thank everyone who contributed, particularly the landlords of The White Hart public house in Alconbury Weston who opened up their doors and operated as a community hub during these floods.
“We must also commend the great partnership working between the emergency services, the council and National Grid, which was able to re-direct electricity so we could keep the power on despite the flooding.”
Fire officers worked with the local authority and partner agencies to request a rest centre was set up in Huntingdon for those who needed to leave their homes.