Developing

I was there... when our village was surrounded by flood water

Flooding cut off almost all exit routes from our village

My family has lived in the Midlands for over 20 years and have never experienced floods like this. Even though it feels like we've had very little rain, we've never been cut off before - until now.

We're lucky that our house is slightly elevated, for we just live six houses away from neighbours who in the past have seen their bins floating down the road when there's a flood. But in the recent November floods we needed to get out of our village, and like a lot of people it was only when we tried that we realised there was a problem.

Our usual road was closed and we could see the deep water under the bridge ahead of us. We turned and drove to an alternative road, only to find that closed as well with flood warning signs everywhere. I decided to take the very long route around our village via another small town. That was closed too. Everywhere we looked there was water. Water was bubbling up from the drains and cows were standing almost tip toe in the only dry corners of their fields.

Our fourth attempt with an exit road brought us to a traffic queue. The road was flooded too, but cars were taking turns to drive through the middle so as not to go too deep in the water. We drove through and I admit I was a little scared. This was the deepest water I have ever driven through and I was worried about my car brakes. I know that when you drive through water you have to gently squeeze your brakes to get them dry and effective again. The water can also damage the catalytic converter, so we were all taking risks driving through the torrent.

I have never known our area to flood this badly. The flooding has taken me and everyone else here by surprise. I'm told it's because the rain has been little and often and the ground is saturated - nothing can drain away. The countryside is dotted with tankers and teams trying to pump the water away but then it will rain again. I've made sure I have wellies and wet weather gear in the car just in case I come across a flash flood and get stuck.

A by-pass was closed off after the river there burst its banks. The fire and rescue teams were out in force to save 30 stranded sheep who had been caught in the sudden deluge. Unfortunately four of the animals died. The bad weather has affected livestock and farmers around here the most.

So far we've been lucky. My only incident is a broken roof tile that's let in water and ruined the décor in a bedroom. That's nothing compared to what some people have gone through. Now the temperatures have dropped and the flood water has frozen. By now it should have drained away, but the solid lakes of water are presenting another type of problem, and of course at some stage it will all have to melt. This problem isn't going to go away soon.