Communities are being warned to prepare for the risk of flash flooding in awareness campaigns launched as more heavy rain is forecast.
Councils across England and Wales are highlighting the danger to residents and businesses of flash floods, which can see local areas swamped in minutes after deluges.
Last night Wigan was hit by some of the heaviest downpours of rain, bringing chaos to roads and gardens across the borough and causing flooding in Winstanley, Hawkley Hall, Orrell, Billinge and Bryn.
Drivers leaving the M6 at Marus Bridge found themselves marooned in deep water as the sudden downpour brought everything to a standstill.
Several house on Atholl Grove were also flooded when a brook which runs behind the street overflowed.
Firefighters were called to the street at around 7.30pm last night, Wednesday, when a heavy downpour overwhelmed the brook and the sewage system.
At least two houses were badly affected with several more experiencing flooding in garages.
Wigan watch manager Jimmy Clitheroe said: “We were there for around two hours pumping out water from the houses which is probably around 1,000 litres of water.
“There was a great community spirit though and everyone was pitching in to help. We left the scene at around 9.30pm when the water had receded and we had pumped the water from the affected areas.”
A crew from Hindley were also called to Colby Road at around 6pm where around 10 houses had flooded. Firefighters spent around three hours at the scene pumping water from the properties.
Other affected streets included Fulbeck Avenue in Hawkley Hall, Cavendish Drive in Winstanley.
Wigan Council’s emergency call out teams responded along with the emergency services.
Local residents have also been praised for helping neighbours to mop up the water and clean properties.
Council officers visited every property which had reported flooding to check on the welfare of residents and make sure they were safe. No-one has had to be re-homed as yet.
Cleansing teams also responded attending Atholl Grove, Crestwood Avenue, Haddon Road and St Paul’s Avenue.
The teams swept and cleaned up water and debris and also returned today to sweep away standing water and a mechanical sweeper will also attend.
Officers were attending properties today to speak with residents to establish any support needed and to understand the extent of the flooding.
Gully inspections are also being carried out on all areas that were flooded.
Four schools were also affected:
•Winstanley Primary School - remains shut today and also likely to be shut tomorrow with damage to classrooms.
•Marus Bridge Primary School - remains shut today and also likely to be shut to pupils tomorrow with damage to the hall and classrooms. Parents are encouraged to check the school’s website and Facebook page for more updates.
•Hope School – some minor flooding but no damage and the school remains open.
•St Aiden’s RC Primary – damage to Lower KS2 classrooms toilets and office. School is open.
Karl Battersby, Wigan Council’s director for economy and environment, said: “Unfortunately very severe rainfall in a short period of time caused some localised flooding in Wigan last night.
“The flooding was extremely localised and was caused by an unprecedented volume of rain in such a short period of time.
“It is a very distressing to be flooded and we reacted quickly along with our emergency service partners to attend every home affected and check residents were ok.
“Our cleansing teams also responded to help clear the flood water from homes and dispose of debris and will be doing so again today.
“We were also hugely grateful to residents who across Wigan joined in to help their neighbours by cleaning up and making sure everyone was safe and care for.
“The Wigan spirit was clear to see with people even offering accommodation to people whose homes were without power.
“With more rain forecast it is vital that people take notice of our advice especially regarding driving through the flood waters.
“This is not only dangerous but it is also inconsiderate as it forces water out of the road into people’s properties.”
Mr Battersby added that the flooding at Marus Bridge junction was caused by the intensity of rainfall.
He said: “The intensity of the rainfall meant the roads just couldn’t cope with the water but it had cleared within two hours meaning the drainage system had worked.
“We regularly clean the drains. They have all been inspected and are clear and working as they should be.”
Advice has now been issued by Wigan Council with the potential for further flooding today. This includes:
•Drivers should not attempt to drive through flood water. The situation last night was made worse by people deliberately driving through the flood water. It is extremely unsafe and can cause the water to flood people’s properties.
•If your property is flooded and you are removing flood water please use gloves as the water could be contaminated.
•If your home has been flooded contact your insurance company and make sure you take photos of the damage.
•For more flood advice visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/floodadvice
Have you been affected by flooding this week? Send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.