Discover the incredible turmoil caused by Storm Ciarán in Somerset and Wiltshire. From flooded streets to power outages, the impact was staggering. Find out how the region coped with this relentless force of nature.
Somerset and Wiltshire faced a tumultuous encounter with the elements as the relentless fury of Storm Ciarán battered the region. The consequences were widespread, from the inundation of homes to the closure of schools and unexpected power disruptions.
In the early hours of Thursday, chaos ensued on the M5 southbound, between Burnham (J22) and Bridgwater (J23), due to an overturned caravan, leading to extensive delays for commuters.
The impact on the rail network was equally profound, with the line between Taunton and Plymouth remaining shut for the entirety of the day, while the Salisbury to Southampton route also saw a temporary closure, courtesy of the relentless downpour.
The weather forecast continued to cast its shadow, with a persistent yellow warning for wind and rain. This dire prediction was accompanied by 17 flood warnings and 23 flood alerts in Somerset, highlighting the perilous conditions.
Power outages affected approximately 200 properties in Somerset, with issues reported in locations like Weston-super-Mare, Wedmore, and Bridgwater, underscoring the challenge faced by the National Grid.
Hinkley Point C, a site known for its bustling workforce of 10,000, faced a significant disruption, as essential work was halted in response to the adverse weather conditions. Daytime construction shift workers were the most affected.
The Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called into action, responding to 17 storm-related incidents, the majority involving vehicles stranded in floodwaters.
The impact on the railway was undeniable, with the line at Pewsey falling victim to floodwater, resulting in yet another closure.
Somerset Council Highways crews were in high demand, as they swiftly responded to over 100 incidents since the arrival of Storm Ciarán. Fallen trees, some posing serious hazards, were a common sight, particularly in the southern part of Somerset.
Despite the relentless onslaught, Ian Withers of the Environment Agency, stationed at the Westover pumping station, reassured that things were progressing as planned. Rivers surged with water, notably the Parrett River, which saw a staggering 162 cubic meters per second – a volume well beyond the usual expectations.
As Mr. Withers noted, this was just the beginning of the typical winter storms Somerset expects. The region, however, remained resolute, prepared for whatever nature may unleash.