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The current deluge of water that has created havoc throughout the UK and has submerged many of its counties owes more to a freak of the weather than it does to any portent of disaster that surrounds the advent of a “Blue Moon” yet there have been occasions where a Blue moon did coincide with disasters. The eruption of Krakatoa being the most notable to give credence to the myth. The weather systems currently attempting to sink the British Isles without trace began just over a week ago.Sudden cloudbursts delivered a whole month’s rainfall in a few hours. One might think that June does not have a history of heavy rainfall being well into the British summer and the month that hosts both the longest day and Midsummer Day but to put into perspective the rate at which rain has fallen in one village one hundred millimetres of rain fell in little more than twenty minutes. When rainfall attains that ferocity it is almost impossible for drainage systems to cope and perhaps inevitable that there will be flooding but the scale of the flooding shows no sign of abatement in the places worst hit.

The UK is not a large place and much of its population gravitate to densely populated tracts of land which tends to concentrate the location of infrastructure into those same places, one of those places is Rotherham in South Yorkshire where several villages have had to be evacuated because the sheer weight of water that is now collecting behind a dam has cracked the dam wall and threatens to burst. Behind the dam is a thirty-five acre lake swollen by excessive rainfall, in front of the dam lie electricity pylons carrying 270,000 volts three villages [Catcliffe, Whiston and Canklow], the M1 motorway and a major electricity sub station. If the dam was breached the flooding of any of the surrounding infrastructure would sustain a heavy loss of life.
The efforts to minimise the weight of water behind the dam have employed several fire tenders to pump water from behind the dam and into local becks, streams and rivers to diminish the threat of possible collapse. The army have tasked a Chinook helicopter to airlift gravel and sand to shore up the dam and pile drivers are adding the extra dimension to ensure against failure.

South Yorkshire is not alone in its sufferance of the weather many other counties are similarly affected but amongst the worst hit have been Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Though by and large more “Rural” than South Yorkshire they have each had similar tales unfold. In Ludlow once the Administrative town for Wales the River Corve became a raging torrent of anger and bile sweeping away houses and carrying off anything that was not securely fastened down flooding vast swathes of countryside, isolating towns and villages and closing roads to all but boats. Whilst near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire further down the country a bridge was undermined by the raging torrent of water it traversed and collapsed closing the road to all traffic. In the city of Worcester, the burial place of King John [He of Magna-Carta fame] The racecourse remains submerged below the tender mercies of the River Severn. The Worcestershire county cricket ground also lies beneath a considerable lake thwarting any attempt to play the gentleman’s game.

Yet despite the carnage delivered by the demigods of metrological misfortune the death toll has so far been mercifully low and has not ventured above single figures. Stowically the "Brits" accept it as the "Will of the gods" but still want to know when it will stop as two weeks on it shows no sign of relenting.
The cost to property and infrastructure however is expected to run into billions, a great deal of it will be met by the public purse but insurers will meet a significant proportion. After any period of adverse conditions the claims against insurers are myriad and the current misfortunes have brought so many claims that there are not enough “Loss assessors” nor “Loss adjusters” to cope with the deluge of paperwork.
The delays have forced insurers to call in operatives from as far afield as Germany and France but a week after the disaster struck many are still await some sort of contact. In the meantime many of the areas that were flooded remain below the waterline, mixed with the floodwater is raw sewage, the bloated carcases of vermin, and drown domestic pets and sundry rubbish and sludge. The risk of disease will rise with any increase in ambient temperature. The odour given off by the toxic soup still flowing through many homes is self-evident. The anger that their homes are still flooded after a week with no sign of the waters subsiding is growing.Many ask "What is the goverment doing"? The answer seems to be precious little apart from appointing a "Minister for floods" Pardon? Yes you read it correctly they have appointed someone to be responsible for the relief of suffering as a result of all that water, He has no budget,no powers and no idea what is going on. Little changes in government. Boats have replaced cars in some villages and it is estimated that the current situation will take years to rectify but we do have a Minister to oversee anything that all of the other agencies have overlooked.

The media has explored the possibility that the current rainstorms could be attributed to the effects of global warming whilst the greener activists level the charge that building on flood planes is folly. Senior churchmen advocate that it is a judgement of god on a rapidly degenerating and depraved society. So far no one seems to have noticed that there was a Blue Moon over the UK this week or connected the storms with the fact that whenever there is a Blue Moon rainstorms are more severe. Think back, 1999,2001,2004 and now 2005, if you live in the UK was it raining hard? Were there floods? Did anyone say “It was just a freak weather system” or “We know you’ve had a lot of rain but there’s more to come”. Bet no one mentioned that there was also a “Blue Moon” at the time.


Posted: July 5, 2007 

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