Sunday 10 November 2019


The Sheffield Floods of 2007 were supposed to be a once in a lifetime event yet here we are 12 years later. A month's rain fell in a day on already saturated ground on Friday.

The last time around I ended up marooned at home with my youngest daughter. My eldest was at a friend's and my wife was in the hospital. This time around I was at work.

Everyone around we're keeping an eye on the river levels, in particular the River Don which is the major river in the area. The levels continued to rise throughout the day. The emergency services together with the environment agency and other partners worked around the clock to monitor and keep people safe.

The biggest criticism to give out in my opinion goes to the Meadowhall Shopping Centre. They had planned to have a big Christmas lights switch on that evening featuring some reality stars. Of course this attracted quite a number of young people. Despite warnings and the increase in traffic (because a number of routes were blocked) they refused to cancel the event. At least until the final hour. The chaos that ensued was entirely avoidable.

Eventually the river did burst it's banks in a number of places.

A late night finish and I had to get home (I wasn't going to spend the night at work, not without getting paid) so I made the attempt to get home. The Don had breached on Sheffield Rd on the approach to Rotherham, I decided to make my way across. This video illustrates the difficulties I had.

I'm the only one in my household that made it home (everyone else was safe sheltering with family and friends).

The next day the waters began retreating and the cleanup started. The flood defences installed since the last time meant that whilst bad this time it wasn't a full repeat of 2007. Or so it appeared.

Doncaster was next to be hit and it was hit hard. Homes were evacuated and entire communities devestated. In fact it is still ongoing right now, long after the rain had stopped. So were the flood defences only primarily designed to protect businesses (particularly in Sheffield) rather than domestic properties? Meadowhall escaped unscathed but homes in Catcliffe, Bentley, Kirk Sandals and Fishlake (amongst others) have been devastated.

If they had spent some of the money they've already wasted on Brexit so far on flood defences for the vulnerable areas we wouldn't be seeing the devastation to homes across South Yorkshire.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the person that lost their life in Matlock and to those that have lost homes and property. Government help rarely stretches this far north and you can't help feeling that if this happened in London there would be an outcry. We are a hardy bunch and we'll prevail.

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