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Torrential rain triggers flash floods and landslip in North Somerset

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 06, 2012

  • Flash flooding on Heathfield Road, Nailsea

  • Resident Tony Saul combats flash flooding on Heathfield Road, Nailsea

  • Heavy skies loom over the West Somerset Railway Steam Fayre site in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton, during a shower-soaked weekend

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While the rest of the West enjoyed British Olympic glory on Saturday night, a cloudburst over one Somerset town brought flash flooding – with scores of homes being hit by the deluge.

Fire crews in Nailsea received about 80 calls for help from homes flooded by a torrential downpour on Saturday evening, while in and around the area south of the Avonmouth bridge roads were blocked by a landslide and emergency services were stretched by the rain.

The areas of Pill and Nailsea were worst affected, with fire crews working well into the night pumping out homes which had been inundated by the flash floods.

The Southfield Road area of the town was the worst affected, with homeowners telling of how a heavy storm seemed to remain over Nailsea for a couple of hours as water rose first in gardens and then tipped over under doorways and into homes.

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Drains were overwhelmed in residential areas and several feet of water gathered at low points in roads, which were turned into rivers by the deluge. Fire crews from as far as Bath and Bristol rushed south of the Avon to deal with the calls.

The first calls from homeowners, who had watched the waters rise from around teatime, began to come through to Avon Fire and Rescue Service at around 6.30pm, and at its height, crews from seven stations were involved in what turned out to be a six-hour operation.

While the rain eventually stopped halfway through the evening, it wasn’t until well after midnight that the last fire crew finished pumping out the last house.

A few miles away on the edge of Portbury, a landslip blocked Failand Lane with hundreds of tonnes of rocks, debris, soil and trees as an inch of rain caused the steep sides of the hill there to become unstable.

Following the landslip tragedy in Dorset, where the bodies of a couple remained undiscovered in their crushed car for ten days, rescue services quickly checked there were no vehicles engulfed by the landslip, which occurred at about 8.30pm.

A local farmer with a tractor and a specialist rescue team using a vehicle known as a Bobcat, cleared the rubble and were able to confirm there had been no vehicles or people trapped under the landslip.

A spokesman for Avon fire service said: “Very fortunately, after extensive searching the area was declared clear,” an Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said. After several hours of work, the lane was again made passable on the downhill side.

“One family that were trapped in their property by the slides were able to get access to and from the lane,” he added.

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