Some areas across the UK received over two weeks of rain in less than an hour on 18th July, while an inch of rain fell in just 15 minutes on the pretty Cornish coastal village of Coverack.
At 2.30pm, catching everyone unawares, a one-metre deep torrent of water swept along the main road through the village, depositing tons of debris along the way. Residents and holidaymakers described heavy hail with some hailstones as large as ping pong balls. Villagers said the speed of the flood had caught them by surprise.
Power was lost and over 50 houses damaged or flooded, with possessions carried away on the flood water. The torrent continued down through the village, finally cascading over the harbour walls into the sea.
Amazingly, no one was injured.
Emergency services quickly responded, rescuing people trapped in their homes and vehicles and dealing with several other incidents. A major incident was declared at 5.20pm.
A couple in their seventies had to be rescued by helicopter when water over 1.5m deep burst through their door and trapped them upstairs.
The teams dealing with the aftermath reported that people seemed fairly upbeat, although the clean up operation will take at least several weeks.
Several organisations came forward to help, including Sikh disaster relief charity, Khalsa Aid, which has previously provided help and aid to refugees in Greece, and victims of the Yemen civil war and Nepal earthquake. The Slough-based charity has also given aid to victims in other areas of the UK and is helping to clean up and clear drains at Coverack.
The main village road was severely damaged, but the clean up operation is well underway. Many businesses rely on the holidaymakers attracted to the village in the summer months.
Ironically, two years ago, Coverack was given £300k for flood defence work – to protect the village’s picturesque harbour from the sea after crashing waves during the storms of 2014 undermined the sea wall.
The clean up costs and repairs to homes and roads have been estimated at over £1 million, and the flood has been compared to the devastating flash floods at Boscastle in 2004 which destroyed 100 homes and business.
Read our advice in June 2017’s newsletter for information on some of the measures you can take to reduce the impact of flooding in your home or business.