HOMEOWNERS were evacuated and almost 100 properties were left without power as two days of torrential rain hit West Lancashire.
The downpours, which began on Monday, resulted in a number of road closures as Scarisbrick, Westhead, Halsall, Banks and Ormskirk bore the brunt of the deluge.
Dyers Lane, in Ormskirk, was one of the worst hit areas, with families having to leave their homes as rising floodwaters from the adjoining brook threatened their properties.
Five houses were flooded as officers from West Lancs Borough Council helped people escape their homes and offered residents the use of Ormskirk Civic Hall as an overnight rest centre.
Dyers Lane resident Elizabeth McClean said: “I have lived here for 72 years and have only ever seen it flood as bad as this once before.”
Andrew Burrows, public realm manager for Lancashire Council, said: "Dyers Lane, Ormskirk, was closed by the fire brigade for a time on Tuesday afternoon. Council officers handed out sand bags to protect properties from water running off the highway.
"At this stage, it looks like the flooding has been caused by underground culverts outside the highway, which could not contain the amount of rain which fell yesterday.”
Elsewhere in Ormskirk, Alty’s Lane was badly affected while three properties in Blindman’s Lane and one house in Amsall Lane were also flooded, with the council reporting that over 90 properties in all were without electricity on Monday evening.
Ormskirk Tennis Club was counting the cost after flood water flowed into the players’ club house and saturated the club’s state- of-the-art courts.
The club on County Road only opened the new facilities in May following a £50,000 government grant as part of the Olympic legacy scheme.
Chairman Rob Owens said: “There’s almost ten inches of water inside the clubhouse and at the moment the courts are more suitable for fishing than tennis.
“We will have to close until further notice and I think it will be at least six months before we can open the clubhouse again because the carpets are wrecked.”
In the village of Westhead, the Halton Castle Inn suffered as flood water filled the pub’s basement cellar and came up through the floorboards.
Landlord Bob Braeger said: “It started on Monday afternoon and since then we have had two inches of water come into the pub.
“We are surrounded by farmers’ fields so it always a risk but this is the worst I have ever seen and we will have to re-carpet throughout the ground floor.
“Our regulars are saying it’s the worst flooding in the area since the late Eighties.”
Despite the problems, Bob was confident the pub would not have to close and praised his regular customers for their support: “It has not been an easy time for pubs recently, but we are determined to get through this and we will simply close off the flooded area in the bar so we can keep serving.”
Derby Ward councillor David Sudworth, who was one of a number of people who attempted to help residents escape the rising flood water, said: “On Tuesday morning, I visited properties in Alty’s Lane which have been flooded, and helped those whose homes were under threat of being flooded.
“In some cases, we were using anything we could find – sandbags, bits of wood, bricks, you name it – just to help keep properties as secure as possible.
"United Utilities, the County Council and fire brigade were on site when I was there but with one month's worth of rain falling in just 24 hours, it was a real battle to keep homes safe.
“I have now written to Lancs County Council and Lord Derby's Estate to see what can be done to tackle this recurring issue."
West Lancs Borough Council is advising residents that refuse and recycling collections will be disrupted in some parts of the borough.
A statement on their website said: “A number of roads are flooded and drivers are advised to take extreme care.
“Some of the roads that are particularly badly affected include those in the Scarisbrick area, and Westhead, along with Dyers Lane in Ormskirk, Halsall Lane and Southport Road.
“Please be aware that the Council does not provide sandbags for residents and businesses.
“If, however, you are a council tenant and your property is at risk of flooding, please contact Customer Services on 01695 577177 for further advice and assistance.”
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