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This morning we woke up to the sound of the arrival of storm Ciara as strong winds and driving rain hit the Calder Valley. This is how it looked and sounded from our bedroom at around 10:30.

It’s certainly been a heck of a storm. I can’t remember when I last saw so much torrential rain arrive in such a short time. When it subsided I started checking social media and found that Ciara was already causing chaos in the valley. Both Hebden Bridge and poor Mytholmroyd were flooding, despite the millions that are being spent on new flood defences – especially in the latter town. Then I saw that our own town, Sowerby Bridge was also flooding for only the second time since 1968.

Dropping what I’d been planning to do I donned my waterproofs, grabbed the camera bag and headed out. Here’s a collection of photographs and videos of some of what I saw.

My first port of call was the new bridge over the River Calder which is almost immediately below the house. The bridge itself is a massive modern structure which was in no danger from the floods. Thankfully, the new housing estate which is sandwiched between the river and the canal was also safe, although the canal was also perilously close to overflowing.

The River Calder at Copley. That group of trees normally sit on an island in the middle of the river. Beyond is the embankment of the railway from Halifax to Sowerby Bridge.
A Landrover drives through floods outside the recycling centre on Copley Valley Rd. Much of the road was flooded, cutting of large parts of Sowerby Bridge from the other, including the railway station. The video below shows the level of the water in the Calder immediately behind where I’m standing. You can see the recycling centre through the trees.

Industrial units on Walker Lane on the banks of the Calder are flooded. The river runs behind them. Note the tail lights are illuminated on the red car as the water fuses the electrics

The river is normally flowing to the left here! This container was bobbing up and down gently, but thankfully it hadn’t broken free to drift downstream. Notice the ironworks has got its flood protection barriers in place. I just hope they worked. Further upstream towards the centre of Sowerby Bridge I took the next video which shows the level of water at the bridge by the old Gasworks site.

The river is overflowing into the Calder and Hebble Navigation in central Sowerby Bridge whilst narrowboat owners can only sit it out and hope their homes don’t get beached.
Debris builds up on a bridge across the Calder.
Looking back from the last shot with the railway passing overhead.
The A58, West St is submerged under several feet of water. This is the lowest point in Sowerby Bridge. Behind me is the Calder whilst the Ryburn flows behind these buildings to the left, where it joins the Calder just under the railway bridge. This area bore the brunt of the Boxing Day flooding in 2015.
The view of Sowerby Bridge from the bridge over the Calder.
Flooded properties in central Sowerby Bridge next to the river.
A drowned car in a residential carpark with the river behind.
Water boils under the main bridge across the Calder in the centre of Sowerby bridge whilst detritus builds up against it. Police had closed the bridge due to the flooding on the other side.


The storm (for now) has abated. But more gales and rain are forecast later. It’s been impossible for me to get over to Mytholmroyd as the roads are flooded, as is the railway further down the valley at Walsden. So, spare a thought for those who’ve been flooded out of their homes once more.

Here’s a look at the railway at Walsden which graphically illustrates why the Calder Valley line’s closed.

It’s now 23:41 and I’m about to call it a day. I’m lying in bed listening to the wind and the rain beating against the window once more. God knows how things will look in the morning…

A Favour.

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