Residents speak of ‘terrifying force of nature’ after flash floods

Landlady Sue Landale cleans up after the floods at Jack's House pub, Todmorden.
Landlady Sue Landale cleans up after the floods at Jack's House pub, Todmorden.

Residents and businesses have spoken about the “terrifying force of nature” they witnessed when a cloudburst caused flash flooding in the upper Calder Valley on Monday evening.

Numerous areas of Todmorden were under several feet of water after a thundery downpour resulted in torrents gushing down the hillside.

Norman Caddy, of Fir Wood Close, Walsden, said he has never seen anything like it in the 30 years he has lived in the village.

“We were sitting having our evening meal when there was a bit of a noise,” he said.

“We looked out of the window to find water was gushing past about 4ft deep.

“When you go out and have a look it’s horrific to see the power of water.

“It’s terrifying when it’s on the move.”

The force of the water smashed through a wall and washed away large chunks of his garden.

Fellow Walsden resident Hadley Pollard was hit twice in 48 hours by the thundery downpours.

After waking up on Sunday morning to find the roof at his business Bailey’s Gym had leaked and water had damaged lots of equipment, he then saw his home flooded on Monday evening.

“On Monday I was at the gym cleaning up when my girlfriend Becky rang to say there’s a big torrent of water gushing down the road,” he said.

“She was standing by the door with blankets trying to keep the water out.

“I got as far as the train station and the water was up to my waist. It was almost covering cars.

“I was panicking as I needed to get back home to help Becky but I couldn’t cross the road outside our house because of the water.

“So I went back across the railway bridge, jumped onto the track and got into the back door of the house.”

He said despite the water damage at the gym, the business is still open and classes are running as normal.

For Sue Landale, landlady at the Jack’s House pub on Burnley Road, Todmorden, the mops were out again but luckily it was not as bad as last summer’s flood.

“It wasn’t as bad as last time - we were only ankle deep - but we still face a massive clean-up,” she said.

“Within minutes the water was coming in. Once it starts you are hard pushed to stop it.

“The precautions that we put in place last time have paid dividends.”

Rodney Young, who lives on Derdale Street, Todmorden, had his cellar flooded.

“The drains were the main problem,” he said.

“It’s a nightmare round here.”

Abid Hussain said the scene outside his business - Hussain Brothers store on Halifax Road, Todmorden - was spectacular.

“I saw the water rising and luckily the rain stopped just in time,” he said.

“I was very worried, especially as with Ramadan I would not have had the energy to clear up this time.

“It was a lucky escape. We were inches away from it.”

Todmorden firefighters had a busy night dealing with numerous flood-related incidents.

The crew was called to Millreed Lodge Nursing Home, Rochdale Road, Walsden, to help evacuate residents upstairs after the ground floor was flooded.

They were also called to Waterside Lodge Residential Home, on Rochdale Road, where rainwater got into the cellar and affected the electrics.

The crew also attended several incidents concerning flooded sections of road in the Todmorden area.

While crew commander John Davies was busy battling the floods, his own home came under water.

Half of his garden was swept away and the kitchen was under around three inches of water after a stream was unable to cope with the sudden downpour in Walsden.

“My wife and kids had to sort it out as I was busy,” he said.

“But I’m sure many people had a worse night than me.”