Kipling's Cat (mintogrubb) wrote in tubestories,
Kipling's Cat

Operation Floodwatch

Yesterday, London and SE England got two months of rain falling in under 9 hrs.

I got into work at 10 am to find that the met office had issued a Severe Weather Warning. London , at least London Underground and London's Emergency services braced themselves for the worst.

It never started raining till 12, but my Station Supervisor had me prepare a notice board saying -

Due to adverse weather conditions, the following stations are closed - "

on it. this went to the middle of the booking hall, and I was told to stand by and add info as it came in.

at 12;15 we got out first call. "Tooting Broadway closed due to flooding ". This was closely followed by Tooting Bec and several more. we lost 14 stations in under 20 minutes. But as the torrential rain came lashing down , London fought back. fire brigades worked hand in hand with Underground emergency units to install pumps, clear the lines and keep the service running. trains could run on through closed stations as long as the track was clear, but if the water rose too high, it would come into contact with the high voltage rails, and this could cause severe damage, or even loss of life. in order to prevent this, the power was shut off in some sections. the district line went down in 3 places. At the peak, we had over 20 stations out of 250 out of action.

It was my job to keep the tally - who was currently closed and who was still open. messages were constantly coming in to Station control, but it was me who was keeping score and helping people to complete journeys using the map boards next to the Floodwatch board.

We even lost Victoria at one point. my station had huge machines deployed, half squeegee, half vacuum cleaner, that sucked up several gallons of water per second. Before the rain had stopped, some stations were back in action, yet we continued to lose others elsewhere, as far afield as Gants Hill and Wimbledon. By 13:00 hrs, the rain stopped as suddenly as it began, yet many outlying Stations were still out of action when I checked out at 1800 hrs.

It was the biggest thing to hit London since 7/7. I went off to lunch at 14:00, leaving another CCA in charge, and stepped out into brilliant sunshine. there seemed little distruption upstairs, but I learned that in some places, roads were flooded and mudslides had caused chaos on motorways.
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