Nurse 'stood and cried' as house flooded following heavy rainfall

Damaged caused to Paul's home from flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday
-Credit: (Image: PA)

An NHS nurse has revealed he "stood and cried" as his home was rapidly flooded following heavy rain on Wednesday.

Paul Jones-King, 48, from Loftus, said it's the second time in a year that his St Hilda's Place property has been flooded, marking the third incident since 2020. The area previously experienced flooding during the summer of 2023, with Mr Jones-King expressing feelings of "emotion and anger" at the recurring situation.

"It happened within minutes and there's absolutely nothing you can do other than open the front (door), turn the electrics off and wait for the fire brigade to come and start pumping and watch it run through your house," he told the PA news agency.

"I work shifts and I worry every time I go to work that the house will flood if the weather is bad. You watch the weather on a daily basis, you become obsessed with the weather forecast in case we're issued with a weather warning."

"I just stood and cried yesterday (Wednesday) and watched it come in. It's that emotion and anger of 'here we go again'."

Flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday in Loftus
Flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday in Loftus -Credit:PA

Mr Jones-King stated his house is currently "drying out", but added that damp issues persist within his property. "In my living room everything is in a pile, the dehumidifiers are on and it's that continuous disinfecting because it's sewer water that comes in the house."

"The houses smell damp and it's things like slugs and woodlice that are all of sudden in the house they're attracted to the damp and the slugs come in from the nasty water from outside."

Mr Jones-King explained how drainage from nearby farmland during heavy rainfall leads to "rapid" draining into Loftus Beck, which quickly becomes overwhelmed.

"The beck gets overwhelmed because it goes through a culvert under the road by the side of our houses that culvert is not big enough to take the water," he said. "It pushes the water back into the sewer and it's the sewer (water) that comes up through the drains and floods our houses."

Damaged caused to Paul's home from flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday
Damaged caused to Paul's home from flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday -Credit:PA

Mr Jones-King also mentioned that when flooding occurs, "The drains in the main road lift and the water comes through the drains. He expressed frustration with the recurring flooding, stating that it "should be no surprise" to local authorities as it affects the "same properties" time and again.

"Funnily enough, the council have just delivered sandbags this morning (Thursday) which is really not helpful," he commented sarcastically. "It's happened again and there's lots of talking, lots of blame."

He highlighted the lack of coordination between different agencies: "The water board say it's the council, the council say the water board need to do something as it's coming from the sewers." He added, "The Environment Agency are not interested at all."

In conclusion, Mr Jones-King shared his disappointment with the flood alert system: "The flood alert arrived 30 minutes after the water came into my house and that's a brand new system that should have given me an early warning that there was going to be a problem."

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency explained: "Our current understanding is that yesterday's (May 22, 2024) flood event related to surface water issues at St Hilda's Place. However, previous flooding has been due to a combination of high flows from Loftus Beck as well as sewer and surface water flooding."

"In order to better understand the flood risk from all of these sources, the Environment Agency, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Northumbrian Water commissioned a hydraulic modelling study. This study is underway and will allow us to work in partnership to explore options for the long-term management of flood risk at St Hilda's Place and the wider Loftus area."

"We also have a community engagement officer supporting residents of St Hilda Place to provide advice on flood resilience measures and develop a community flood plan."

Meanwhile, a representative for Redcar and Cleveland Council said: "The scale of the rainfall in East Cleveland yesterday caused flooding which led to a response from the emergency services, Redcar and Cleveland Council, the Environment Agency and other stakeholders."

"The council responded immediately when called out to the need for help and crews were mobilised throughout the day as the scale of the flooding became apparent."

"The crews worked with the emergency services to keep people safe. This work included making roads safe to use, clearing gulleys to allow the water to run away and providing help to residents to protect their homes. In relation to the flooding issues that occurred in the St Hilda's Place area of Loftus, the council are currently working in partnership with the Environment Agency to deliver a property flood resilience scheme to try and help alleviate any further flooding issues in the area."

Damaged caused to Paul's home from flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday
Damaged caused to Paul's home from flooding following heavy rain on Wednesday -Credit:PA

"The work to repair any damage caused will continue in the coming days and we would like to thank all those who gave their time and expertise to ensure people were safe in the aftermath of the flooding."

A spokesperson for Northumbrian Water commented: "During spells of heavy rain, the beck in Loftus often floods and the combination of the surface and river water impacts on our networks."

"We share the community's desire to improve the situation for the residents of St Hilda's Place and that is why we are committed to assisting our partners at the Environment Agency and Redcar and Cleveland Council with their plans for the watercourse and culvert through the village."

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