Rainstorm thunders through town. | Knutsford Times

Rainstorm thunders through town.

By on July 1, 2009

It started out as a much welcomed, cooling gentle summer shower and a hope that its arrival would neutralize the choking humidity and heat. As the rain fell, people scurried about looking for cover until the first a clap thunder signalled a change in mood.

Almost instantly, the shower had evolved into a tropical downpour dumping tens of thousands of gallons of rainwater onto the town. With the thunder rolling across Knutsford and lighting now striking nearby buildings people were beginning to show concern at the ferocity of the precipitation.

Drainage systems were unable to cope with the sheer volume of water that, with know where else to go, simply cascaded down the inclined passageways connecting the two main roads. The torrent flowed naturally towards the moor at pace where it began to quickly pool across Moorside Road. By this time, the River Lilley had already given up is ability for aquatic containment, allowing its contents to spill out across the already flooded tarmac.

As the storm continued its journey overhead, a bolt of lightening hit the Knutsford Winebar with a resounding bang sending its diners into a fit of panic as lights and electrical supplies were interrupted. David Crompton, a town centre resident, was entertaining a client when the surge from the sky connected with the building. “There was a terrific bang, almost like an explosion, people were frozen for a while as all the lights went out.” rather dramatically he remarked “It was one of those moments when you think, dead, were all dead”

Church Hill became Church Falls as fast flowing floodwater zipped past the shops and offices creating rapids where the cobbled street once lay. Residents at Tatton Lodge have had their fill of flooding over the years but this watery output created more problems for the occupants, flooding internal walkways and garages.

Sara Hoodfar, owner of The Cherry Tree Gallery on King Street, suffered flooding in her newly created basement workshop. Sara, who recently celebrated her twelve-month anniversary as a shopkeeper in the town, panicked as water poured into the basement ruining works of art, materials and the custom designed carpet.

“I could hear it coming in, it sounded like a waterfall. It happened so fast I just didn’t know what to do especially with customers in the shop”

Landlord Andrew Burke at the popular beer hostelry and local’s favourite The Cross Keys Hotel, found himself bailing water from behind the bar as the floodwater crept into the building. Parts of the historic building failed to hold back the rainwater as the flat roof above the toilets forced the ceiling to collapse due the sheer weight of water.

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Children were not put off by the storm as some were spotted out in the rain jumping into puddles and running about in the newly formed street rivers. However, the lesson of last weeks three hundred thousand volt lightening strike on a sixteen year old boy in Birmingham, killing him three days later, was not heeded. Even as the storm began to pass and the sun made a feeble attempt to break through the leaden sky, powerful bolts of lightening were still being broadcast.

Parents are warned that although the rain is essentially a harmless and playful element, lightening is fatal to children. Everyone also needs to take greater care when trapped out in the open. Cover must be sought during dangerous electrical storms, as a wet human body will act as a natural conductor for lightening bolts.

Lightening and myths dispelled.

Do NOT stand under a tree! Although contrary to popular belief, it’s the second leading cause of lightening fatalities. Just get yourself indoors. Trees have a tendency to break up or explode when struck by a bolt of lightening. If they are soaking wet they will conduct the bolt so touching them could be fatal.

If you are trapped outside, do NOT lie flat on the ground; this actually increases the chances of you being struck by lightening as the electrical current can run along the ground.

Get yourself low down with as little as possible touching the ground, feet together, squat down tucking your head in, cover your ears and sit it out. If you are with other people stay at least fifteen feet away from them to avoid the bolt travelling from person to person.

We don’t intentionally bring fear to the pages of the Knutsford Times but simple and effective use of common sense saves lives and will help to boost public immunity against the Health & Safety virus.

Photocredit: Jonathan Farber Photography

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