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Flood Response - 22nd December 2012 24 December 2012

Department of Infrastructure crews answered more than 100 calls for assistance during Saturday’s flash floods, which saw numerous roads closed around the Island.

The first reports of flooding were received from around 8.55am, and focused on the Colby area, quickly followed by reports of flooding at the Blackboards, Glen Vine, Mount Rule, Gansey, St Marks, Port Soderick, Laxey, Old Castletown Road, Leigh Terrace, Cooil Road, Richmond Hill, Glen Darragh, Patrick Road and numerous other locations.

In total 30 DOI staff, using equipment including sweepers, hiab’s and jetters 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 our Control Room at Ellerslie as part of DOI’s contingency plan in order to coordinate and prioritise calls and to liaise with the Emergency Services Joint Control Room, IOM Fire and Rescue Service and Civil Defence, to ensure resources were despatched efficiently and to avoid duplication. Approximately 1,000 sand bags were distributed during the event. A warning regarding Saturday’s heavy rain was issued by The Met Office, and all public forecasts on Saturday 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 – 25mm in a 12-hour period at Ronaldsway – was exceeded in other areas, and although this quantity of rainfall was not excessive, the problems caused were compounded by the amount of rainfall the Island had experienced in previous days having an “accumulative” effect. Our crews were finally stood down at 9.00pm, and I’d like to thank them, Civil Defence and the Emergency Services for the quick response and dedicated work they undertook on Saturday.’

Alan Hardinge, DOI Deputy Civil engineering Manager, added ‘A significant issue we have at present 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 are still saturated after the wettest summer on record, so water was running off instead of soaking away’.

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