Wednesday, February 9, 1996

TWO days of non-stop rain brought flood havoc to Bury yesterday.

Two factories were affected, and at one production was halted. The floods also blocked roads and threatened houses.

At Walshaw, mothers in Wellington boots carried youngsters to school through water which swirled a foot deep across a main road.

Already, this is the wettest February since 1962and with no sign of a break in the weather it could become one of the wettest months on record.

In the first seven days, weather observers at Blackford Bridge Sewage Works recorded 2.79 inches of rain and between 9am on Monday and 9am yesterday rainfall totalled 1.94 inches – more than for the whole of January.

The figures for the 24 hours up to 9am this morning are expected to be similar.

Worst flood damage was reported by the Westbury Engineering Co Ltd, Woolfold, where a lodge owned by neighbouring Olives Paper Mill Co Ltd, overflowed water poured into the firm’s erection bay, and before firemen could start pumping operations it was four inches deep.

Production was halted and a spokesman for the firm said that a number of workers were sent home. Officials are also worried about the possibility of damage to machinery in the bay.

They have decided to inspect it, together with a consignment of expensive export goods which were standing in the bay, packed ready for shipment. The inspection will involve uncasing the whole of the consignment.

Workers who were not sent home helped firemen to clear the floodwater, and production was resumed in the bay in the early afternoon.

Water also overflowed from the lodge into a storehouse at Olives Paper Mill causing damage to paper stocks.

A spokesman said: “There was nothing serious and only slight damage was caused to the stock.”

Floodwater poured from fields blocking part of Walshaw Road near Elton Cop dye works.

Some young children on their way to Elton Junior School had to be carried across and others clambered on railings to get past the flood spot.

The playing fields at Elton Junior School were under water.

Houses were threatened at Kelwood Avenue and at Brook Dene Road, Unsworth, as heavy rain turned fields and gardens into lakes.

Firecrews had to rush pumps to Kelwood Avenue as floodwater rose in adjoining fields.

They saved the homes from flooding by diverting the flow into nearby gullies.

Rear gardens of houses in Brook Dene Road were nearly a foot under water. Council workmen lifted manhole covers to check the flooding.

At Withins, Radcliffe, the canal overflowed over a footpath on to farmland.