Flood alerts issued as torrential rain batters Lancashire

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Roads into Whalley and Billington were closed last night and a Flood Alert  issued for the River Calder after torrential rain battered the North West.

The rain poured down at around 5pm yesterday evening (21 November) and caused culverts and drains to overflow and flood parts of King Street in Whalley and Whalley Road in Billington.

Road blocks were put in place and traffic was diverted around Whalley and Billington at around 6pm. The fire brigade pumped water from under the bridge at Whalley Road in Billington and Lancashire County Council attended the culvert and emptied the blockages.

The flooding was not as severe as the Boxing Day Floods although many residents were worried by the rising water. Whalley resident Helen Lord said: "We received five minutes notice from the environment agency before the water was at entry level. I had a terrified four-year-old and a baby and three flood gates that needed fitting."

A team of volunteer flood wardens assisted with traffic management, handling sandbags and helping residents install their new flood gates for the first time.

Neil Martin, President of Whalley Lions said: "The flood that hit Whalley last night was a flash flood originating from the culvert at the top end of the village. Water ran off the surrounding hills have also caused disruption in around Billington, Barrow, Wiswell and the A59. This incident was not river related so no real warning was able to be given.

"Unfortunately not all drivers took the advice of the traffic management volunteers and the police and carried on regardless through the flash flood. This led to vehicles being abandoned in the water, or those racing through the waters causing a wake of waves that threaten nearby properties with the flash flood water. Despite that most people took the advice and took care travelling around the area."

Gillian Darbyshire, Resilience Lead for the Whalley & Billington Flood Action Group said: "We are pleased that Lancashire County Council were there to help along with the police and RVBC were in touch to assess the situation. We have spent all year working on the relationships that paid off tonight in an efficient, calm and organised approach.'

Dwayne Lowe, Lancashire County Council's area highways manager for east Lancashire, said: "Our highways teams were out responding to flood-related incidents, working alongside other agencies on Monday night through into Tuesday morning.

"The sheer volume of the heavy rainfall over a short period of time led to problems in some areas of Lancashire, including parts of the Ribble Valley.

Road blocks were put in place in Whalley

Road blocks were put in place in Whalley

"In Whalley, the amount of water coming down from the hill near to Barrow quickly filled the drainage system, causing water to run down Clitheroe Road to the town centre. We sent a gully wagon to clear the drains, and staff who dealt with the incident remained at the scene throughout the night. We also issued sandbags, and were on hand to support and advise residents.

"Barrow and Billington also experienced some flooding, and again highways staff were present to clear blockages and debris, including fallen trees.

"There is still some cleaning up taking place, but this will be sorted within the next few days.

"We are very pleased with the response from local people and organisations.

Lancashire County Council attended last night's flooding in Whalley and Billington

Lancashire County Council attended last night's flooding in Whalley and Billington

"As with all flooding incidents, we will look into the circumstances to consider whether any further measures could help to reduce the impact of similar situations or even stop them from happening again in the future."

The river peaked at 2.6m at 9:30pm and the river levels are now receding.

Flood alerts are no longer in place for the Rivers Calder, Brun, Don and Pendlewater, from Laneshaw Bridge to the river Ribble including Trawden, Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Accrington and Whalley.