Storm Ciara: 'It was like a tsunami in the centre of Padiham'

Business and shop owners in Padiham were today coming to terms with the aftermath of Storm Ciara.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 1:07 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 1:08 pm

Several shops were hit by flooding yesterday after the storm raged across the country causing chaos.

And once again Padiham was in the eye of the storm as the River Calder raged and water flooded into the town centre and into several shops.

Several premises, including Padiham Medical Centre, were left without power today but the electricity was due to be restored this afternoon.

Volunteers and helpers get to work outside Padiham's Vanilla hair salon.

Padiham firefighters spent eight hours pumping out flood water from the worst hit shops in the town centre.

According to business owner Victoria Holland the water hit the town like a 'tsunami.'

Victoria, who owns Vanilla hair salon in Burnley Road, said: "I was standing in the car park at Tesco when all of a sudden the water just started crashing in from the river in great waves.

"It was awful but as the water came gushing through people were still trying to drive their cars through it."

A startling image of the flood water taken in Lune Street, Padiham, yesterday by Victoria Holland of Vanilla hair salon.

After Victoria and a member of the public placed cones on the main road, to prevent cars from entering Lune Street leading as it was becoming impassable, she dashed across to her shop to make sure it was safe.

Luckily, after the horrendous Boxing Day floods of 2015, Victoria installed flood defences at the two entrances to the shop.All shops were given the opportunity to apply for the Government funded defences after the 2015 floods devastated Padiham town centre.

The main salon area at the front of the shop was not badly hit and there was just minor flooding at the back of the premises which houses a kitchen and sinks for washing clients' hair. In readiness for the storm Victoria and senior stylist Jodie Forrest had been down to the shop earlier that morning to take all electrical items upstairs to safety.

She added that there did seem to be a shortage of sandbags and friends and family who pitched in to help had to go on a hunt for them.

Dianne Briggs captured this image of the River Calder rising at the bridge through the town.

While the power is still out today at several premises in the town centre Victoria said her salon would be open for business as usual tomorrow.

Crews from Padiham Fire Station spent several hours pumping out flood water from a number of town centre shops.

Crew manager Laura Herdman said: "There did seem to be some criticism on social media about local services but out of 72 appliances in the county there were just five available at any time.

"We were stretched to capacity and were called to many incidents including people trapped in their cars in flood water."

Victoria Holland (left) at Vanilla hair salon with senior stylist Jodie Forrest.

The Pendleside Hospice charity shop was among those affected by flooding and could remain closed for up to a week while staff stage a salvage and clean up operation. The shop was also badly hit in the 2015 floods.

Lisa Pearson, who is Head of Income Generation for the hospice, said: "We have had to throw out some stock but we did manage to save many items.

"The floor is covered in sludge and mud so when we have cleared that away we may need to install a new floor."

Lisa praised an 'army' of volunteers for stepping in to help with the salvage operation adding: "We really have seen true British spirit in times of need.

"We are thankful for small mercies as the situation is not as bad as we first thought."

Lisa also appealed for any members of the public who would like to help to donate items for the replenishment of the Padiham shop at the charity' store in Trafalgar Street.

Flood defences in place at Padiham Town Hall, devastated by the 2015 floods, kicked into action to protect the building. In 2015 the ballroom was flooded and had to be closed for two years while major refurbishment work was carried out.