Lancashire

Lancaster flooding: Power restored to flood-hit homes

Flooded substation in Lancaster Image copyright Electricity North West
Image caption Electricity staff worked round the clock to restore power supplies.

All but 300 homes that lost power after a substation flooded have had their supplies restored.

Floodwater breached defences at Lancaster's main substation on Saturday night, cutting power to 55,000 properties.

Up to 70 dwellings were evacuated in the worst-hit areas.

Milk was delivered by torchlight while homeowners and businesses counted the cost of ruined food after turning off fridges in flooded kitchens.

Rocks weighing up to half a tonne were also swept up to 100yds (90m) through fields by the force of water.

Image copyright Colin Barnes
Image caption Streets near the River Lune were flooded

Engineers worked "around the clock" to restore supplies in Lancaster.

Earlier, Electricity North West tweeted: "All supplies back on in #Lancaster".

Speaking before the power was restored, Ruth Dickson, 91, who lives in sheltered housing in the city centre, said: "It's cold because there's no heating and there's no lighting.

"We're just coping as much as we can. I can remember the war and it reminds me of it."

Road 'caved in'

Milkman Mick Liver said he delivered in areas without power using torches, adding: "I couldn't see a thing but we coped."

Alison Baxter, bar manager of The Yorkshire House pub on Parliament Street, said: "We're totally flooded out so I can't see us reopening for a fair while.

"Our cellar and bottom floor, all the fridges, everything has all gone."

Image caption Local residents were given food and drink at an emergency response centre in Lancaster

Geoffrey Capstick, from Dolphinholme near Lancaster, said he was having to pump water from his kitchen, adding: "The water levels are not going to drop immediately - that could take possibly up to a week.

"All the houses in this row, they all have the kitchen down in the basement so effectively we've got to turn the power off so the fridges aren't working, all the food's ruined and we have to do what we can."

The Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris, who was in Gressingham, said: "I'm looking at stones here that would probably weigh half a ton each, just toppled into the field and dragged along the field by about a 100 yards.

"There's an abandoned car here, the hedges are all over the walls. On the Hornby side, the road has complete gone, it has literally gone - it's not there, it's caved in."

Schools closed

Flood damage in England costs £1.1bn a year

5.2 million

properties at risk of flooding. That's around one in six.

  • £2.3bn is being spent on tackling the threat of floods.

  • 1,400 new flood defence schemes are in the pipeline.

Getty

Two main bridges over the River Lune in Lancaster - Skerton and Greyhound - were shut to traffic on Sunday.

They sustained no structural damage, although there is debris underneath that needs to be cleared, a Lancashire County Council spokesman said.

Skerton reopened to traffic just before 13:00 and Greyhound has also reopened ahead of the evening rush hour.

The bridges are the main direct route between Lancaster and Morecambe and Lancashire Police is advising people to use junctions 33, 34, or 35 of the M6.

Twenty-three schools are closed in Lancaster and Morecambe.

All routine outpatient appointments and most non-urgent elective operations have been cancelled at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Queen Victoria Hospital in Morecambe, an NHS spokesperson said.

Lancaster University has cancelled teaching until the end of term.

St Michael's on Wyre was also flooded with the village hall and the school buildings being affected.

A number of roads have been closed and motorists are unable to access the village using the A586 from the West, the council said.

Image caption The village hall at St Michael's on Wyre was affected by flooding

Steve Cox, from Electricity North West, said there was still a "significant amount of work to do to fully repair the substation".

"Rather than wait any longer for the full repair and restoration of the site, we have chosen to provide power at the earliest opportunity," he said.

In a joint statement, the Anglican bishops of Lancaster, Blackburn and Burnley said communities were facing "tough times", adding: "We remain concerned especially for elderly and vulnerable people and those struggling to find the help they need."

Image caption Power was cut off after the flooding on Saturday night
Image caption Derbis had to be cleared from the two bridges over the River Lune

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