Major incident declared in Norfolk as heavy rain causes flash flooding and major travel disruption

The scene in Long Stratton Wednesday night. Credit: Viewer picture

A major incident has been declared in Norfolk after heavy rain caused flash flooding and major travel disruption.

Firefighters in the county dealt with just under 300 incidents in the space of a six-hour period, and 48 fire engines were called out.

The relentless rainfall left many roads underwater, including the A140 at Long Stratton where there were huge tailbacks as cars tried to crawl through the standing water.

The issues weren't just restricted to Norfolk either, with other parts of the region also facing a Christmas clear-up.

In some areas nearly a month's worth of rain fell in 12 hours. At Tibenham in south Norfolk there was 49 mm (2 inches) of rain in the 12 hours up to 2am. Corby in Northamptonshire had 57 mm of rain from 7am on Wednesday to 2am on Christmas Eve.

The problems continued into Christmas Eve morning as well.

The A14 remains closed between Thrapston in Northamptonshire and Ellington in Cambridgeshire after floodwater blocked the road, and a stretch of the A47 in Norfolk also had to shut.

Emergency services pleaded with people to not attempt to drive through floodwater following several reports of cars getting stuck.

There was disruption on the trains too as Greater Anglia services were suspended between Norwich and Diss, forcing London-bound commuters to travel via Cambridge instead.

List of current road closures

A car stranded in floodwater in Somersham, Cambridgeshire. Credit: Roger Taylor
  • A14 closed in both directions due to flooding from J13 A45 (Thrapston) to A141 (Brampton Hut)

  • A47 in Norfolk closed in both directions closed due to flooding between Church Lane (Easton Roundabout, Easton) and Matishall Road (Honingham Roundabout, Honingham)

  • One lane closed due to flooding on A43 Northbound from A5 (Towcester) to M1 J15A (Towcester / Northampton Services, Rothersthorpe)

  • A1198 in both directions closed due to flooding from B1040 (Papworth Everard) to A14 J23 (Godmanchester)

  • A1307 Westbound closed in Cambridgeshire due to flooding from A14 J24 (Cambridge Services / Boxworth, Boxworth) to A1198 (Godmanchester)

  • A11 Northbound closed at Thetford due to flooding from A134 to A1075

  • A47 Westbound closed at Lowestoft due to flooding from A1117 (Lowestoft) to Hopton Roundabout (Hopton)

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said they had handled more than 250 flood calls, with several properties inundated and multiple people rescued from their stranded vehicles as more than 44.6 mm of rain fell in the county in the space of just 13 hours on Wednesday.

Willingham Recreation Ground in Cambridge. Credit: Jamie Smith

Elsewhere, Bedford Borough Council and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service both pleaded with people to stay at home.

“Floodwaters can be much deeper and more dangerous than they look - do not try to drive through floodwater. As far as possible, people are urged to stay at home if it is safe and to avoid travel, particularly around the north of the Borough," Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said.

“Call the emergency services on 999 and ask for the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service if your property is being flooded and there is threat to life."