Lancashire

Storm Ciara: Flooded Whalley residents rescued in inflatable boats

Resident rescued on an inflatable boat
Image caption Several properties in Whalley - which was hit by floods on Boxing Day in 2015 - have been evacuated

People were rescued from their homes by boat after parts of Lancashire were flooded during Storm Ciara.

Several properties in Whalley - which was hit by the Boxing Day floods in 2015 - were evacuated, as well as homes in Blackpool.

Cars were abandoned in the floods and there was widespread travel disruption.

More than 70 flood warnings were in place across the county, and the fire service declared a "major incident".

Six people were rescued with inflatable boats in Whalley, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said.

About 100 properties were affected in total, Ribble Valley Borough Council said.

They were in King Street in Whalley and Billington and some pockets in Ribchester, Sawley and Low Moor in Clitheroe.

Residents in Longworth Road, Whalley - the closest street to the River Calder - were also affected.

Image copyright South Shore Blackpool Fire Service
Image caption A motorist was rescued from a car in Blackpool

The manager of the Ribchester Arms in Ribchester, which was also flooded in 2015, said the pub was "gutted" with about 2.5ft (76cm) of water.

"It is back to square one again," Liam Fairey said.

He said the pub was the "heartbeat" of Ribchester and staff had been in tears at the damage.

Mr Fairey said the water had subsided and the clean up would start on Monday.

Two rescue centres were set up - one at Whalley village hall and the other at Billington Brass Band Working Men's Club - to welcome residents throughout the night, the council said.

The authority said the floodwater later subsided and all residents were allowed back in their homes.

Image copyright South Shore Blackpool Fire Service
Image caption Blackpool firefighters have been busy, the fire service said

Blackpool Council said flooded properties in Queen Victoria Road were evacuated and about 15 people were looked after in an emergency rest centre.

The centre has now been closed with all residents except for two families - who are being put in temporary accommodation overnight - being allowed back to their homes.

The authority said it would reassess the properties on Monday.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said it had received 311 calls throughout the day, with 192 related to flooding.

Areas of Longton and Rossendale were also affected by flooding.

At the scene

Paul O'Gorman, BBC Radio Lancashire

Image caption Some Whalley residents praised the Environment Agency and the Met Office

It was a devastating scene at the historic village of Whalley for the second time in little more than four years.

I watched firefighters evacuating residents in inflatable boats on the high street while submerged cars were left abandoned.

It was utterly heartbreaking for residents after they were victims of the Boxing Day floods in 2015.

Jim Hadleigh, from Whalley, praised the Environment Agency and the Met Office for its warnings which meant the village could make preparations in advance of Storm Ciara.

Luckily, the water has now subsided and residents are now allowed back into their homes and this wasn't as bad the previous flooding, but one resident said they are expecting rain tonight "so they're not out of the woods yet".

Storm damage has also caused havoc with power lines.

About 4,000 homes were without power in Padiham, Electricity North West said, most of which have now been restored.

Electricity North West said its engineers had faced "tough conditions with flooding of the River Lune causing access issues, and debris - including shed roofs - blown into our poles and lines".

It had restored power to 20,000 homes in the North West affected by Storm Ciara, it added.

Avanti West Coast cancelled all trains north of Preston and Northern pulled most of its services across the north of England, advising passengers not to travel with the exception of some routes in the North East.

There were no road replacement services in place due to the exceptional weather conditions, it added.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Northern has cancelled more than 140 trains

Flooding closed a lane on the M61 southbound at junction nine at Brindle to junction eight at Chorley.

Blackpool Transport cancelled all trams due to the "high winds and risk of injury and damage" until further notice.

All Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's ferry crossings between Douglas and Heysham, Lancashire were cancelled.

Image copyright Anthony Roberts
Image caption Garstang Rugby Club was left under water
Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Avenham Park in Preston was flooded

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