Heaviest September rainfall in 30 years brings misery to St Helens homes and businesses (From St Helens Star)
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Heaviest September rainfall in 30 years brings misery to St Helens homes and businesses
9:26am Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
HOMES and businesses were left swamped as the heaviest September rainfall in 30 years brought flooding misery to St Helens.
More than a month’s rainfall poured down inside 24 hours on Monday causing the most widespread floods St Helens has witnessed in decades.
Worst-hit was an area of Blackbrook, near the Ship Inn pub, where the Sankey Canal burst its banks causing waters to rise rapidly within the space of an hour.
Firefighters used inflatable rafts to rescue ten people, including children, and family pets from homes at the junction of Blackbrook Road and West End Road.
It also left businesses and residents counting the cost of water damage.
Peter O’Mara, supervisor at Blackbrook Test and Service centre, told the Star: “There was about two foot of water in here. It caused damage to the electrical facilities we use for MOTs.
“There should have been about eight MOTs going through here today but it has meant we have come to a standstill.”
Neighbours, who were attempting to clean up on Tuesday, told the Star they believed the council and emergency services should have responded quicker to the flooding threat.
They also questioned why major road improvements at the junction, which suffered serious floods 12 years ago, had not prevented the build up of water.
Gordon Anders, 60, who should have been completing the sale of a Blackbrook Road house, which formerly belonged to his mother-in-law, said : “It was horrendous. Something went seriously wrong.”
Mother-of-one Deborah White, 44, said: “I arrived home from work and could see what was coming because we had this 12 years ago.
“I got my daughter Devon (10) and said we are getting out of here.”
The chaos at Blackbrook drew national and regional television crews to the town, however, it was the extent of the problems across the borough that took many people by surprise.
Blackspots such as College Street at Gerard’s Bridge, Islands Brow and Peasley Cross Lane were all hit by the incessant downpour - but communities in Sutton, Rainford and the Ruskin Drive sportsground were all hit.
Firefighters once again had to rescue a motorist who had become marooned at the Peasley Cross bridge, where water was three feet deep.
Rescue teams pushed the car to safety containing a 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman after its engine cut out.
The latest rescue prompted St Helens Council to urge drivers to heed the message on illuminated warning signs.
Meanwhile, images taken on Monday showed the floods had reached the foot of the steps leading up to Langtree Park.
However, the water has subsided since, with the road having reopened, and the club says the stadium, which hosts the play-off semi final this Saturday, has in no way been affected.
Problems on Monday at College Street, which remained closed as the Star went to press, were heightened by a wagon, which shed the forklift truck it was carrying, causing it to become wedged beneath a bridge.