Battered by storms - and a tornado

Felled trees in Cragg Vale as a tornado hit the valley
Felled trees in Cragg Vale as a tornado hit the valley

The Calder Valley may have escaped the storm which devastated much of the country overnight on Sunday and Monday but still took a battering from the elements between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

A tornado struck Cragg Vale and Luddenden late on Friday afternoon, and close on its heels two thunderstorms, a prolonged one peppered with hailstones and a briefer mid-evening downpour, caused residents concern - and prompted many of them to take action to protect their homes and begin drawing up a list of trouble spots in terms of blocked drains to pass on to the council for action.

For its part, the council sent drains cleaners into operation from Saturday morning to start unblocking drains clogged with leaves and other debris and began dealing with trees which had been brought down into Cragg Road following Friday’s tornado, residents clearing it for vehicles to pass again.

Environmental problems struck again at Mytholmroyd on Monday with damage to a culvert suspected of causing a length of the Rochdale Canal to drain. The same day found a little dog who had been tied to a tree after being found wandering in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, on the way back to be reunited with her owner after braving the weekend elements.

Friday’s thunderstorms saw roofs and gardens damaged at Luddenden while the force of the tornado, which struck parts of the valley, also brought down trees across sections of Cragg Road above the Robin Hood pub at Cragg Vale.

Residents of Victoria Buildings set about clearing as much of the trees as they could and Jade Smith said: “We used the bollards and signs from the road side to direct the traffic. it was amazing to see how the community became a cohesive team of works clearing the road for all who come through.”

Neighbours in many parts of the valley, especially Todmorden, were fearful of surface flooding as drains struggled to take the water at the height of the downpour, with the road closed for a time at Halifax Road, Todmorden, to prevent wash from vehicles from heading towards homes.

Neighbours made use of the Calder Valley Community Support (formerly Calder Valley Flood Group) Facebook site to post warnings about very localised areas, with water stopping rising in the nick of time at parts of town including Rochdale Road near the newly re-opened Vedas restaurant, the same road at the heart of Walsden village, Bacup Road and streets at Shade. Surface water also caused problems all down the valley with routes passable only with care on the part of drivers. Some drivers were also causing concern with their actions, with instances of drivers overtaking vehicles moving carefully through surface water being reported.

The CVCS Facebook group is compiling a list of drainage trouble spots which it intends to pass on to Calderdale Council as a pointer to where problems are occurring during extreme downpours.

Todmorden Flood Group is also intending to take up issues on behalf of residents relating to an underground culvert at Scott Street, Walsden, which floods gardens and at times homes when conditions become extreme.

There was a happy ending when a dog which had escaped from home endured high winds and torrential rain after it was left tied to a tree during bad weather over the weekend.

While most pets were tucked up indoors, the little Cairn terrier was found tethered to a tree in the woods in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, on Monday morning.

The dog was taken to West Mount Vets, Burnley Road, where she was looked after by staff.

Officers from the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team said the dog’s owner has now been located. A spokesperson said on Monday: “The dog had escaped and somebody found her wandering on the park so tied her up. Her owner is now on the way to collect her.”

Monday morning also found the Midgley Road Bridge (Mytholmroyd) section of the Rochdale Canal and the adjacent footpath closed after a culvert was suspected to have collapsed. The incident happened on Monday morning when passers-by reported that the canal appeared to be leaking between lock six and seven. Engineers from The Canal and River Trust, the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, secured the area on Monday afternoon and are now investigating the cause of the problem.

David Baldacchino, waterway manager at the Canal & River Trust said: “On Monday morning (October 28), volunteers reported to the Trust that the canal was leaking between locks 6 and 7 on the Rochdale Canal in Mytholmroyd. Initial investigations by our engineers have confirmed that a culvert has failed beneath the canal.

“The canal has closed to boats between these two locks while we look into the problem.

“At this stage we don’t know why this has happened and our engineers are continuing their investigations and devising a programme of repairs. We’re very grateful to the volunteers for bringing this to our attention so quickly. “

Hebden Royd Town Councillor and Liberal Democrat candidate for the Luddenden Foot ward Tony Hodgins, who reported the incident to the trust, said he has lived in Mytholmroyd all his life and had never seen anything like it.