Floods Special: It's water torture

PUBLISHED: 17:43 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Ely’s St. John’s Road flooded and closed off as Anglian Water workers investigate.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Ely's St. John's Road flooded and closed off as Anglian Water workers investigate.

TRADERS and householders in Ely and its villages were struck for the second time in five days by freak storms which have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. Several businesses in the High Street were affected and some forced to close when water c

TRADERS and householders in Ely and its villages were struck for the second time in five days by freak storms which have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Several businesses in the High Street were affected and some forced to close when water cascaded from ceilings and poured through doors during last Thursday's storms.

Homes in Haddenham were struck, leaving Station Road submerged under nearly six inches of water.

The village was hit on a massive scale, even flooding houses at the higher end of the village.

Haddenham Parish Council chairman Ken Bowcock, of Lode Way, experienced the flooding at first hand when several houses in the road were under water.

Cllr Bowcock said, "We were forced into baling out water on Lode Way, and some of the houses at the bottom of the street were partially flooded. There were burst drains all over the place."

Ely resident Nik Sargent received an electric shock from the stainless steel sink in his kitchen as lightning hit.

He said: "I saw the spark jump away from hand. It was like a proper mains shock. I've been told that because the atmosphere is highly charged your head becomes more positively charged than the rest of your body and it discharges to earth. The sink would have been the point to earth. I leapt in the air and swore."

Many shops suffered their second flooding in days, ruining stock and leaving staff facing major clean-up operations

Card Fair in Ely's Market Place was hit on Saturday afternoon, and the shop still has a de-humidifier working around the clock because of the damp. Staff tried in vain to keep the water out with sandbags.

Staff at clothes store Dorothy Perkins, also on Market Place, were preparing to destroy bags of damaged clothes after being hit by the floods.

Travel agents First Choice in High Street were hit worst by the storm on Saturday, and manager Sharon Angles was forced into action, baling out water as more than a foot of water collected in the building.

"We had to replace three computers and we lost two phone lines," Ms Angles said. "The carpet had to be taken up, as the smell was awful."

She added that trade had been badly affected, leaving the week's takings down.

Flooding also prompted shop worker Paul Bedford into action when water burst into the children's section at Topping's Book Shop. Mr Bedford rushed to move books from the lower shelves when nearly four inches of water rose, threatening hundreds of pounds worth of stock.

"We lost a few books and we'll have to replace the carpets - it was all a bit manic really," he said.

M&Co manager Marisa Brown was left reeling when water fell from the ceiling in the shop, forcing her to evacuate the premises. The ceiling has not yet been fully fixed, having felt the effects of a second storm in five days.

Firefighters were called to deal with the flood water, among many call-outs in what has been a period of extreme conditions for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.

"Local fire stations have been inundated with calls during the hot weather about field fires, which actually doubled the amount of calls we received," said Ely station commander Ady Slack.

"The adverse weather and storms then created flooding that we responded to, making the last three weeks a very busy period for for the fire service as a whole.

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