The day the heaven's opened on Swindon - literally! - PICS & VIDEO
Crikey! What a downpour it was. The sight of people with umbrellas and drivers struggling to avoid flooded roads on 20 July 2007 when three inches of rain fell in twenty-four hours leaving major roads blocked, houses flooded and people soaked-through right across town.
Here's how we reported it.
STORY UPDATE: 25 July 2007 11.45am
Theft leaves flood victims not so high and dry
They've already lost their carpets and a whole number of irreplacable items - and now they've lost their sandbags as well!
Flood victims, Simon Apps and family, from Highworth, woke up this morning to find their much-needed flood defences had been cruelly stolen in the middle of the night.
a miserable Simon Apps next to two (split)
sandbags left behind by thieves -
and the scene on Swindon Road,
Highworth, last Friday
A theft that leaves their already vulnerable home desperately exposed to even more rain damage.
"I couldn't believe it," the father of three told us today, "they've nicked about 30 sandbags. We're now totally unprotected."
"If it rains again tonight, we're in serious trouble. The flood last week was bad enough. And I don't think we could stand another one."
"The whole ground floor was in two inches of water and we're only just getting back to normal."
Also affected were Simon Apps's nearest neighbours [see story update 'Swindon starts the big clear-up' below] along Swindon Road, who also saw their sandbags disappear as well.
"Someone saw a red hatchback driving off at about 11pm, but thought nothing of it," added Simon, who only has the full use of one arm after a motorbike accident twenty years ago.
"We all can't believe someone could stoop so low. It's unbelievable really."
STORY UPDATE: 21 July 2007 10.47am
Swindon starts the big clear-up after a day and night of rain
Swindon was waking up this morning to the aftermath of Friday's horrendous torrential rain.
One of the worst affected areas being Haydon Wick, where residents were busy surveying flood damage that left some houses uninhabitable.
Sodden carpets and sad faces:
these pictures show the same house in
Haydon Wick at 10:30am this morning (above)
and at the height of the rainfall at
3:00pm on Friday (below)
(pic. courtesy of Phil White)
Mrs Michelle Jones, of Osterley Road, one who was close to tears after seeing the ground floor of her four-bedroom home submerged in nearly six inches of water..
"I couldn't believe my eyes," she told us, "it was heartbreaking."
"All the carpets and furniture are ruined and we've been mopping up all night."
It was similiar story in Highworth, where residents living on the Swindon Road packed their front doorsteps with sand bags to try and keep the water out - and the damage down to a minimum.
Grinning and baring it:
the clearing up operation in Highworth
"It keeps happening here because we're in a dip," said Simon Apps, who managed to move tables, chairs and a television upstairs as soon as the heaven's opened.
"So we were prepared. But even then our downstairs was still like a paddling pool at midnight last night."
Also causing chaos was the continued closure of the A420 Swindon to Oxford road.
No way through:
the Police road block on the A420 at Sainsburys
Cars dodge abandoned vehicles near Blunsdon (below)
The route still affected by flood water and blocked by abandoned cars at 11.00am this morning.
"I got home on the back of a tractor," Shrivenham resident Adam Ridley also told us, "after taking me three hours to get from Old Town to Sainsburys, where I finally left my car."
"And I was one of the lucky ones."
But.... the show must go on:
a vintage wedding car sets off through the floods
BREAKING NEWS: 20 July 2007 2.07pm
A downpour of near-Biblical proportions brings Swindon to a virtual standstill today
Nearly three inches of rain fell in twenty-four hours leaving major roads blocked, houses flooded and people soaked-through right across town.
the scene in Wood Street this afternoon
Both Swindon junctions on the M4 were closed by Police due to stranded traffic, with Queens Drive and Pipers Way similiarly shut due to the shear weight of water.
our Kirsty - and Swindon
suffered in the rain today
A sub-power station failure in Greenbridge also cut power to nearly 1,400 homes and businesses, including the main Tesco superstore in Ocotal Way, which shut its doors to customers.
Raining cats and dogs
The only winners on the day being the shops selling umbrellas and wet weather gear - and the ducks at Queens Park, who enjoyed a thoroughly splashing good time oblivious to the fuss going on around them.