Flash flood chaos

ARMIES of residents and shopkeepers battled to keep sewage and rain water out of their homes and businesses on Saturday afternoon as a flash flood brought chaos to Ely. Armed with mops and buckets they fought to save their properties as the city was flood

ARMIES of residents and shopkeepers battled to keep sewage and rain water out of their homes and businesses on Saturday afternoon as a flash flood brought chaos to Ely.

Armed with mops and buckets they fought to save their properties as the city was flooded when an inch and a half of rain fell in just 30 minutes.

Speeding drivers brought more misery for homeowners in Silver Street and St John's Road as they drove through the flood water sending it hurtling through front doors and windows.

Residents took the law into their own hands, blocking off their streets with their cars in a bid to stop the water chaos.

The torrential downpour closed High Street shops as drains overflowed sending water across the floors and soaking stock.

High temperatures across the UK hitting increased moisture from the Atlantic sparked off the fierce electrical storm at around 3.30pm.

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A ceiling came crashing down at the M and Co store in Market Place, destroying part of the electrics when a drain on the flat roof blocked.

The water damaged a rack of clothes but thankfully no-one was hurt in the flood as customers were evacuated. The shop remained closed on Monday as staff cleaned up and electricians carried out repairs.

Torrential rain threatened a 21st birthday party as the sheer weight of water tore down a garden marquee smashing up the lighting and wrecking the table decorations.

Travel agency, First Choice, remained closed on Monday after sewage flooded in through the back onto the shop floor, destroying two computers and travel brochures.

At the King's School in Barton Road gutters and downpipes struggled to cope under the deluge of water which bubbled up through drain covers and poured into buildings.

Tesco closed its petrol garage while staff cleared away rainwater from the forecourt and fire-fighters were called out seven times in a matter of minutes as flood water began to rise closing Ely's railway bridge underpass and Chapel Street.

An Anglian Water Authority regional manager sent out to the city to assess the situation reported that it was "horrendous" and "akin to a monsoon".

Staff at Ely's One Stop shop in St John's Road were forced to close for over an hour when water poured into the store.

They were furious because they had already lost £14,000 in profit just two months ago when Anglian Water spent two weeks digging up the road outside the shop to lay a new sewer.

The work, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, was designed to prevent on-going problems of sewage flooding into homes.

Shop supervisor, Katy Reed, said: "The shop was in an awful state with foul-smelling water pouring in. It absolutely stank.

"Maps displayed on the front door were ruined and we had about three feet of water inside the store. Drivers speeding past were making matters worse because they were pushing the water into people's homes. We parked our cars across the street to stop people driving through.

"We had just received a letter from Anglian Water saying the work they had carried out was a positive change and then on the busiest night of the week this happens. We are miffed to say the least."

But an Anglian Water Authority spokesman defended the work saying: "There will always be an event which beats everything you have got. This was one of those. This work was designed to give sewage flooding relief not monsoon downpour relief."

Water flooded in through the doors at the Stagecoach Restaurant in Market Street where staff rushed out to buy mops and buckets for a clean-up operation.

Children's books at Topping and Co were soaked by floodwater and staff at Burrow's newsagents used old newspapers to soak up water coming in through the front and back doors.

Owner Jeff Burrows said: "I had the drains cleaned out two or three weeks ago. I just struck lucky for once."

Silver Street resident, David Kirby, parked his car in the middle of the road to stop drivers speeding through the flood waters.

He said: "There was 12 inches of water in my back garden and the road was completely flooded.

"I was within an inch of losing £2,000 worth of carpet. Next door the carpet is out in the back yard and that's not because they fancied a more comfortable yard."

A Met Office spokesman warned of more storms to come and no let up in the high temperatures until at least the middle of August.

He said: "These storms will be quite tropical in nature. The surge in temperature generates huge storm clouds which produce these torrential outbursts.

"Flash warnings will be issued but it is not always easy to predict these sudden downpours.

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