Tameside feels devastating impact of Storm Angus

A clean-up operation is underway as Tameside wakes up to delays and disruption after extreme flooding, heavy rain and strong winds battered the borough on Monday.

Thousands of people were severely affected as homes and businesses were left under waist-high water, following a month’s worth of rainfall in one night – including three inches before 7pm – in the wake of Storm Angus.

Stalybridge, Ashton, Mossley and Hollingworth were among the worst affected areas – as emergency services were inundated with calls, main roads were closed, public transport came to a standstill, and homeowners were stranded as water cascaded through their properties.

Yesterday (Tuesday), many flood victims were still coming to terms and assessing the damage after the wettest day of the year by some distance.

A fundraising page has been set up by Millbrook resident Cat Parker to help raise money to support those living in the village whose cottages were severely damaged by the flooding. To donate, visit the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/residents-of-millbrook-cottages.

And a similar GoFundMe page has been created by Hollingworth Primary School teacher Danielle Johnson to help towards the cost of damaged books and the flooded Early Years Foundation Stage classroom. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/eyfs-flood-damage.

Meanwhile, Gym Etc – situated next to Stalybridge Celtic Football Club on Mottram Road – are offering free showers to people who have been affected by the floods.

Train and bus services are running as normal and all roads are currently open – with the exception being Huddersfield Road in Stalybridge, which is shut in both directions and Millbrook is blocked off due to flooding at the junction of Grove Road.

Huddersfield Road will remain closed until further notice amid reports that engineers are carrying out vital repairs to gas mains.

Elsewhere, there are delays of around 30 minutes on the 236/237 Stagecoach bus service between Glossop and Ashton due to heavy traffic in Mottram as a result of the temporary traffic lights at Roe Cross.

And resurfacing work and temporary traffic lights are in place on A628 Manchester Road in Hollingworth between the Printers Fold junction and the West Drive junction.

Meanwhile, the residents of Hollingworth Court retirement home in Hollingworth would like to place on record their thanks to everyone who helped out during Monday night’s flash floods and the subsequent clean ups.

One resident, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Our wheelie bins were floating down Market Street on Monday night but a group of young people saved them for us and stuck around to see if we needed anymore help.”

On Tuesday, volunteers from the Friends of Hollingworth group spent hours cleaning up mud from the complex and surrounding area. “We just want them to know we really appreciate all their hard work,” the resident added.

Tameside Council confirmed this morning flood investigations and a clean-up is in full swing, with council staff, emergency services and residents helping to clear debris and repair structural damage in the wake of Monday night’s deluge.

Residents are also warned to allow extra time for their journeys on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as avoid non-essential travel.

Operation staff from several council services – from street cleaning to countryside and road engineers – have been diverted from normal day-to-day tasks to specifically increase resilience and capacity to clear the significant amount of debris on roads as well as trees shedding branches and leaves.

Highways staff worked all night and are continuing today to unblock grids and drains overwhelmed with flood water, while other council staff also worked through the night, with emergency partners, to deal with priority areas.

Tameside Council Executive Member responsible for operations and highways, Cllr Allison Gwynne, said: “We did everything possible to prepare for the adverse weather but we can’t stop a month’s worth of rain falling in just a few hours and unfortunately some areas were hit by localised flooding.

“Thanks to our staff and our emergency partners for their swift response and for working throughout the night to assist and thanks also to members of the community who have worked with us on the clean up to help get the affected areas back up and running again.”

A severe yellow weather warning from the Met Office for the Greater Manchester area ended at 6am but there are warnings of showers and more gales to come, with rivers still at high levels and at risk of bursting their banks again.

The latest weather reports for Tameside say persistent outbreaks of rain will clear to leave a largely cloudy afternoon with further showery outbreaks of rain, which will be heavy across Tameside and perhaps wintry over higher ground, expected this evening. It will turn drier tonight although still rather cloudy before a relatively dry but cold day ahead tomorrow.

The following schools in the borough are closed on Tuesday as a result of the flooding and structural damage to their buildings:

  • St Mary’s CE Primary School, Greenfield
  • Hollingworth Primary School, Longdendale
  • Holden Clough Primary School, Ashton
  • Copley Academy, Stalybridge

Mossley Hollins, Silversprings, St Pauls, Millbrook Primary and St Raphaels have all confirmed they are open to staff and students.

St Raphaels School in Stalybridge released the following update: “School will be open today as normal. We understand that Millbrook is still blocked and the road closed, however the road via Heyrod is open. We appreciate your journey to school may take longer if this your usual route in.”

Trams on the Ashton line have now returned to normal after Metrolink were operating a reduced service earlier this morning, due to a signalling fault at Ashton Moss which prevented trams from running to Ashton-under-Lyne.

Meanwhile, motorists are being urged to take extra care while driving, particularly on motorways and major A roads. The M62 remains closed due to flooding.

Elsewhere, Electricity North West are reporting that residents in the Newton area of Hyde may still be experiencing power cuts but insist engineers are working to repair the problem as quickly as possible.

On Monday night, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service received 230 calls in the space of five hours.

Among the call-outs before 6pm, fire fighters in Ashton were called out to a house on Edward Street after reports of flood water affecting electrics, ensuring the electrics were safe at the property before leaving.

Oldham fire crews were called to a kennels on Huddersfield Road in Mossley where electrics were also being affected by excess water. Crew members assisted in the retrieval of the dogs from the kennels.

Fire fighters also attended after people were trapped inside their homes by flood water on Huddersfield Road in Stalybridge.

Later in the evening, a water incident unit attended with firefighters, carrying two couples to safety from two houses in Millbrook after the ground floors became submerged in flood water which rose to frightening levels.

And rescuers were also seen using a boat to help remove people trapped in their homes.

The front door of Andy and Shelley Vaughan’s cottage was caved in by rush of water from a stream running off the Walkerwood Reservoir.

Full-time foster carer Andy was forced to take the two children he cares for upstairs and they were eventually rescued from a window by neighbour Karl Jones.

Andy and wife Shelley were then rescued by fire crews around two hours later when a boat became available – as were their next door neighbours, pensioners Leo Pieroni and wife Dorothy.

As they returned to their home, which was cordoned off by police, the couple found their garden had been completely washed away whilst the floor of their dining room had completely collapsed.

millbrook-flooding-damage-1

Debris: Piles of rubble and damaged furniture are what is left of Andy and Shelley Vaughan’s garden in Millbrook

As well as Huddersfield Road, Wakefield Road, Manchester Road, Mottram Road, Stannibrook Road, Acres Lane and Mellor Road were also closed for a period across Tameside, where cars were abandoned and pavements submerged.

Meanwhile, trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Hadfield were cancelled for hours as lines were blocked by flood water gathering on tracks at Hattersley in particular, before eventually being cleared at around 9:30pm.

There were long delays on trains from Piccadilly to Buxton via New Mills, as well as Sheffield – with Northern and Transpennine Express advising passengers not to use their services for the rest of the night.

Transpennine said passengers should expect a knock-on effect from last night’s disruption with some delays and all tickets that are dated Monday, 21 November, are valid for travel today (Tuesday, 22 November).

Paul Staples, Transpennine Express Fleet Director, added: “We fully sympathise with everyone who has been affected by this, and customers who experienced cancellation or delay may be entitled to compensation, and should visit www.tpexpress.co.uk/contact-us for further information.”

Jonathan Reynolds, the MP for Hyde and Stalybridge, said he could not believe what he saw amid the devastation of the deluge.

He said: “I have lived in the area for 20 years and I have never seen anything like this before. The footage and photographs showing the flooding are shocking.

“I have been in touch with Tameside Council and the fire service and I know they are doing an excellent job to keep people safe.

“When there was the bad Boxing Day flooding, Tameside was not severely affected.

“However these kind of weather events that used to be incredibly infrequent are sadly more common due to climate change and there are implications from flood defences to infrastructure that we have to take into account and plan for.”

If you have been affected by the flooding, you can call the national flood advice line on 0345 988 1188, select option 1 and enter Quickdial number 143002 to get more information.

 

Main picture:

Under water: The junction between Huddersfield Road and Grove Road in Millbrook, Stalybridge, submerged after heavy rainfall (Picture by Dave Twist)