Flooding hits Kettering homes as heatwave ends with torrential rain

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The dry spell ended with a two-hour downpour

Householders are counting the cost as flood water poured into homes in parts of Kettering after torrential rain hit the area last night (Tuesday) at about 10pm.

Streets including sections of Linden Avenue, Silverwood Road, Avondale Road, Waverley Road and Lower Street were underwater as residents battled to keep the water from seeping under doors.

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Firefighters exhausted from dealing with wildfires were called out to pump out homes across the town as drains were unable to cope with the deluge.

Flooding in Avondale Road, Kettering  Picture by Avondale Sweeps LtdFlooding in Avondale Road, Kettering  Picture by Avondale Sweeps Ltd
Flooding in Avondale Road, Kettering Picture by Avondale Sweeps Ltd

The flooding comes after a prolonged dry spell with soil so parched that it acted like concrete – many people were only aware when the alarm was raised by neighbours.

Anne Carlisle, who moved into Silverwood Road last month, said: “We’re gutted. We have only lived here a month. We have just insured this house.

"I was lying in bed listening to the rain and then I heard talking in the garden. Our neighbour knocked on our door.”

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Neighbour Nick Lattanzi grabbed towels to block the torrent of water from gushing under his front door, others in the block of four terrace had knee-high water pooled in their front gardens.

Flooding in Waverley Road, KetteringFlooding in Waverley Road, Kettering
Flooding in Waverley Road, Kettering

Using pumps and buckets grabbed by helpful neighbours the water that had risen quickly receded as soon as the rain stopped.

Nick said: “No-one expected a downpour like that. All of our neighbours came out to help. We were trying to bail it out but it came through the air vents."

The homes were hit by similar floods in 2007.

In Linden Avenue, Chris Meadows and Danielle Lee and dog Poppy were settling in for the night.

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Nick Lattanzi and Richard Lund clearing up in Silverwood RoadNick Lattanzi and Richard Lund clearing up in Silverwood Road
Nick Lattanzi and Richard Lund clearing up in Silverwood Road

Chris said: “At about 9.45pm, we were just about ready for bed. I heard it chucking it down – it was getting heavier and heavier.

"It came through the front door and then the electrics tripped. It was about 2ft deep.”

Cars trying to get through the floods outside their home caused a bow wave of water to cascade into their home. The couple managed to salvage some belongings and sought refuge upstairs.

At 10.20pm Danielle called 999, the fire brigade arriving in 10 minutes.

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Homes in Linden Avenue Kettering were inundated by filthy flood waterHomes in Linden Avenue Kettering were inundated by filthy flood water
Homes in Linden Avenue Kettering were inundated by filthy flood water

Chris said: “It’s ruined the whole of the downstairs. We’ve just called the insurance company.”

The first Russell Peace, owner of Avondale Sweeps, knew of the flooding outside his house in Avondale Road was when he received a phonecall from his stepson who was unable to get home due to the flooded road.

He said: “My stepson was trying to get home and he called us to see if we were OK. I looked out and the water was up to our house and the neighbours.

"I went to check on them and the house next to them. The community was out there helping to pick up the rubbish and moving the bins that were floating around.”

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He added: "It has happened before in 2007, and doesn’t usually last that long.”

Cllr Dez Dell lives in Waverley Road where he and his neighbours experienced flooding.

He said: “The extreme heat we’ve experienced massively increased the chance of flooding. Dry ground does not absorb rainwater.

“The last time me and my neighbours saw flooding like this was after the heatwave in August 2020. Due to the increase in temperatures due to the climate crisis, heatwaves and flash flooding will become more and more common and will get worse.

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“We, as a nation, need to stop burning fossil fuels, stop our big banks investing in new oil and gas, and the Government needs to take the climate emergency seriously, because it’s us on the ground that are feeling the effects.”

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Thirteen incidents were reported to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue (NFRS) in Kettering from just before 9pm until shortly before midnight, while there was also one incident in Corby and a further incident in Raunds.

A spokesman for (NFRS) said: “The Kettering incidents saw crews unblock rear garden drains in Mill Road and remove flood water from the ground floor of maisonette flats in Laurel Road - as well as using a submersible pump to remove water from properties in Regent Street and Chestnut Avenue.

“Officers also attended and either inspected the scene or offered advice at incidents in Montagu Street, Digby Street, Bellway Close, Bath Road, Willow Road, Linden Avenue, Northfield Avenue and Avondale Road.”

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Group Manager Ro Cutler said: “The recent hot weather and dry conditions means that the ground is finding it very difficult to absorb water at the moment – so there was always a possibility of flash flooding when heavy rainfall was forecast and it’s something we have been well prepared for.

“Our control team had to deal with a lot of calls in a short amount of time last night so we’d like to thank them for their hard work, as well as that done by our firefighters and officers – whether it was offering advice, inspecting drains or pumping water out of properties.”

Some people who tried to report the flood on the Flood Toolkit website were unable to do so.

Drains were overwhelmed in Lower Street Kettering and Northampton Road with manhole covers bursting open with the force of the flood.

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The flooding occurred on the second anniversary of floods that devastated Wellingborough town centre homes, businesses and a primary school.

The flooding comes when Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has been incredibly busy, attending almost five times as many fires over the past week as this time last year – and receiving three times as many calls during the heatwave.

From 6am on August 7 until 9pm on August 13, NFRS received more than 800 calls concerning 328 different incidents.

This is significantly more than the almost 250 calls that it fielded in the week commencing August 9 in 2021, while crews dealt with just over 200 different incidents last year.

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The big difference this year however is in the number of ‘secondary fires’ the service has dealt with – which is fires out in the open.

There has been a steep increase on this front, with just 20 registered this week last year compared to more than 100 over the past seven days.

The hot and dry temperatures have undoubtedly played a part in this, with the conditions making fires easier to spread.

The figures have not been helped however by the number of fires that have been started deliberately, with Northants Fire attending more than 50 incidents last week where fires had been deliberately and recklessly started.

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