The Flood part 1 – The day the rains came

On the evening of 19th July, 2007, it started to rain. It rained and rained and rained and rained. The next morning, it was still raining.

 

This is my story of the dramatic few days that followed. I’m not claiming it was ‘the worst’, because it wasn’t, nowhere near. I am not taking anything away from people who suffered badly for weeks and months afterwards, it is simply my story.

 

 

On 20th July, 2007, ‘the floods’ were something that had happened three and a bit weeks earlier, on 25th June. Parts of the country, particularly Hull, were really badly hit and where I live, Gloucestershire, was pretty badly flooded too. The area under the railway bridge, just along the road from where I live, had filled up like a sink and there were cars bobbing around in it. But as I looked out of the window on 20th July, I said to my two little ones, then aged 16 months and 3 1/2, ‘That is the worst rain I’ve ever seen’. And it was.

 

 

By the time we went to pick up my son from school, the road was a running torrent of water. Cars were driving at a snail’s pace and everyone was drenched, cold and unhappy. We waited and waited and waited. The school was flooded inside. Water had poured in from the road and park and down the school drive and was also coming up through the drains. The only way for the whole school to get out was through a single classroom door. It was a VERY long wait. My poor 3 year old boy was soaked to the skin, while his sister was warm and dry under the rain cover of the buggy.

 

 

The teachers, and some of the kids, ended up staying until late at night because it was impossible for the teachers to get home and the parents to reach the kids.

 

 

By the time we got home, panic was getting a grip across the town. My Mum rang to tell me the roads were gridlocked and my husband needed to set off for home immediately. My brother-in-law was caught up in solid traffic in the town centre. He didn’t mind if he made it home, to his mum’s house or my mum’s house, he just wanted to make it somewhere. My sister made it to my Mum’s house, then later abandoned her car in a sports club car park before wading the remaining mile home in water up to waist height.

 

 

The lake in the park had burst its banks and flooded not only the road, but the local leisure centre. Who had ever thought a swimming pool could get flooded?! But it did. And it was out of action for well over a year after that.

 

 

My husband was taking a rather more relaxed approach. Around his normal home time he finally decided to set off. He stopped at McDonald’s for his tea and was home quicker than normal. Apparently the roads were empty.

 

 

At my office, two of my colleagues ended up staying the night, to be available as the whole situation descended into an emergency – and because they couldn’t get home anyway.

 

 

My boss texted to say they would probably need help over the weekend. I said I wouldn’t be able to help as I was going away. Yeah, right.

 

To be continued…

Author: Sarah Mummy

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5 Comments

  1. Just has brought it all ‘flooding’ back! I was pregnant at the time and we were able to go home early as news of roads flooding came in. I got home just before it all kicked off. Rain gushed down our road flooding homes further down. It really did, rain, rain and rain!

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  2. Hull was a complete mess. I knew people who were still in a caravan two years later. The 25th June here was complete bedlam. I was pregnant and massive and mopping rain water which was seeping through our sodden windowframes. The garden was a bog, but we were lucky. Others in the village are suffering secondary flooding now. I spent the actual day in a panic, phoning the husband to see if he would get home from Hull city centre, phoning family and friends to see if they were ok. I just remember watching the news all day with overhead pictures of familiar places and praying it didn’t affect anyone I knew. A lot of the girls’ school friends were flooded out. I know people whose marriage fell apart because of the stress, but then appeared a whole new sense of community which was striking and amazing. Then Sheffield flooded, which more people in London had heard off and the news teams left Hull as quick as they’d appeared. Then all anyone cared about was whether Nadal would be able to play with all the rain breaks. Sad times for anyone involved which will be remembered any time we get heavy rain again.

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  3. Thanks very much for your comments and memories, ladies. Everyone remembers the floods and everyone’s experiences were unique. There were people in caravans in Gloucestershire for about 18 months too – horrendous! No wonder people’s relationships fell apart.
    It’s sad the way the media moves on and forgets so quickly. We had them around for a while longer because of what came next 🙁 Two weeks without water – we didn’t see that one coming!

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  4. I know that it took everyone a good while after to even relax a little every time it rained – thinking is it going to happen again. The relief of a hot summer – but now the fear that it is drying the ground too much so if it rains it wont run off as easily – I think that’s right.
    I can’t believe McDonalds was kept open – there were hardly any drinks and the toilets couldn’t be used. I had my son 1st October – and the end of that July I was lugging whole crates of coca-cola from one end of the store to the other.

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  5. That was when my son was graduating and the M4 closed just after we got to Bristol. Some of his fellow Graduands missed the ceremony.

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