Deluge causes chaos

Torrential downpours across the Harrogate district have caused chaos with homes flooded, roads closed and rail services brought to a halt.

Cars were abandoned in parts of the town as heavy rains began on Monday, with more than a months’ rainfall recorded in just 48hours.

Oak Beck bursts its banks at Spruisty Bridge on September 24, 2012. (S)

Oak Beck bursts its banks at Spruisty Bridge on September 24, 2012. (S)

Roads were closed in Beckwithshaw and became impassable in parts of Ripley and Harewood, while Oak Beck burst its banks at Knox Ford.

“I don’t think I’ve ever known flooding like this in Harrogate in all my years,” said resident Zoe Kendall, joining a debate on Twitter.

Fire crews from Harrogate were kept busy through Monday night and Tuesday, working to help people clear basements and lay sandbags.

Commuters faced long delays as rail services between Harrogate and Leeds were halted on Monday and then again on Wednesday, between Harrogate and York.

There were further delays of up to 45 minutes at Harewood Bridge after flooding on the A61.

Commuters and bus passengers were faced with a long wait on Tuesday as queues of traffic tried to pass the worst of the flooding.

Among those worst hit was Jennyfield great-grandmother, Annette Harrison, who was horrified to find her garden on Wood Aven Close overcome by a ‘river’ of raw sewage.

The 71-year-old said: “The stench was appalling.

“It was like a water feature - it was shooting two or three feet in the air.”

North Yorkshire Police had issued warnings to drivers to take extra care o nthe county’s roads.

Alison Baptiste, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said teams were working around the clock to keep communities safe.

She said: “Flooding has a devastating impact on people, families and communities, and our thoughts are with those who have flooded this week.”

Yet despite the worst of the wet weather, crowds still showed their support for the annual Nidderdale Show, which went ahead as planned on Monday.

Turn to pages 12 and 13 for pictures .