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12th July 2012

LYME REGIS: Flood zone

Worst floods for 70 years hit Lyme

By Francesca Evans

LYME Regis was hit on Saturday by what residents believe to be the worst floods in 70 years, with areas of Mill Green, Jericho, Windsor Terrace and the Town Mill completely submerged.

The high tide mixed with a month’s worth of rain falling in 24 hours led to the floods and warnings were issued across West Dorset and East Devon by the Environment Agency.

The emergency services were out in force, including Lyme Regis lifeboat crew who, together with police, took the decision to cordon off Gosling Bridge as water from the River Lim started to spill over Coombe Street and the Lynch pathway. They then roped off the whole of Jericho, Windsor Terrace and Woodmead Road, where overflowing drains had created a pool of water across the bridge at the bottom of the hill.

Fire crews were also on hand, visiting riverside houses to ensure residents were safe.

Residents protected their properties with sandbags where possible but the floods caused much damage to outside paving along the riverside paths. The footbridge across Jericho was left in a particularly bad state with cracked and raised tarmac.

Earlier in the morning the lifeboat crew worked alongside coastguards after a fishing boat broke from its mooring and drifted 400 metres onto the shingle beach.

The boat, “Amaretto”, was spotted drifting in force six winds, heavy seas and torrential rain by harbourmaster Grahame Forshaw. He alerted coastguards and the lifeboat was launched at 8.05am.

Conditions were not suitable for the lifeboat to tow the beached fishing vessel, so it was attached by rope to the RNLI tractor to await a lower tide when it could be lifted to safety.

The lifeboat crew also took another boat owner to his vessel, also moored outside the harbor, so that it could be moved to a safer position.

At the Town Mill the “Colour, Line and Thread” art exhibition, which had only opened the evening before, had to be swept out and the artwork was eventually dismantled and taken upstairs. The display has since reopened.

Water also gushed into the Mill Café but new Italian owner Stefano Arturi was able to reopen less than 24 hours later.

He said: “The fire brigade arrived but were unable to help us. We had also asked for sandbags very early in the morning and long before the flooding, but they arrived too late.

“We used everything we had to get the water out and then started cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. We had to cancel Saturday’s supper but we were determined to open Sunday as usual and worked until late into the night to make the cafe look its usual self.”

The flooding caused several mudslides on the cliffs around Lyme Regis, including one slip in which land from the Lyme Alpacas farm on Ware Lane fell to Monmouth Beach.

Lyme Alpacas owner and East Devon district councillor, Ian Thomas, spoke about the slip on his Facebook page, saying that all alpacas had been moved from two clifftop paddocks and were safe and accounted for. He joked: “When we moved to Lyme, always fancied a sea view - hurrah, we now have one as part of the farm has moved to Monmouth Beach!”

The high river levels dropped as the tide went back out. It was feared that further flooding would occur at about 10.30pm because of the expected higher tide, however, water levels seemed to stay under control for the night. 

PICTURE 1: Mill Green and Jericho underwater

PICTURE 2: A deluge of debris and water falls down Monmouth Beach

PICTURE 3: One resident makes his way along flooded Windsor Terrace

PICTURE 4: Water raised on both sides of the Lynch covering the walkway

PICTURE 5: Spurting drains added to the floods at Woodmead Road

LYME REGIS: Flood zoneLYME REGIS: Flood zoneLYME REGIS: Flood zoneLYME REGIS: Flood zoneLYME REGIS: Flood zone

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