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Flooding Response 12 October 2012

Department of Infrastructure crews answered more than 200 calls for assistance during yesterday evening’s flash floods, which saw eight roads closed around the Island.

The first reports of flooding were received from around 4.00pm, and were focused on Peel Road, in particular at The Highlander and through Greeba to Ballacraine. Calls were later received from throughout the central valley and around the South, with other reports of flooding in Laxey and Maughold.

In total 27 DoI staff, 5 sweepers, 2 hiabs and 1 jetta responded to the calls, issuing sand bags, dealing with road closures and carrying out minor repairs.

Minister for Infrastructure David Cretney MHK explained:

‘We opened Hills Meadow and Ellerslie depots to supply sand bags, and, working with the Civil Defence, distributed around 1,500. Indeed, we brought in more stock from Jurby.
A warning regarding yesterday’s heavy rain was issued by The Met Office at 4.25pm on Wednesday, and all public forecasts yesterday mentioned heavy rain and a flooding risk. The Government’s FloodWatch web page also carried warnings of heavy rain and flooding risk.
The total amount of rainfall – 40mm in a 24-hour period at Ronaldsway – was significantly exceeded in other areas. Primarily the problems were caused by so much rain falling in such a short period of time between yesterday afternoon and late evening. A total of 26mm – over one inch – fell in just four hours, which happens about once every five years.
Autumn is a notoriously difficult time of year for flooding, as drainage systems quickly become blocked by fallen leaves, especially when the rain is accompanied by strong winds, as occurred yesterday.
A significant issue we have is with the run-off from fields and hills on to roads.
Highway drainage is not intended to cope with water from such a large catchment area. What’s more, the fields and hillsides were saturated after the wettest summer on record, so water was running off instead of soaking away. There were also problems with leaves covering gully gratings, which stops water running away, and we have ongoing concerns with some ditches and watercourses not always being cleared and maintained by certain landowners. Our crews were finally stood down at 1.00am, and I’d like to thank them, Civil Defence and the Emergency Services for the quick response and dedicated work they undertook last night.’

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