Streets Ahead describes aftermath of consecutive winter storms in Sheffield as ‘unprecedented’

Streets Ahead has described the aftermath of devastating storms in Sheffield last winter as ‘unprecedented’ as it looked back at the last few months as it closed the city’s salt domes for another year.

Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 10:28 am

Storm Arwen arrived in late November, bringing with it heavy winds, rain, and the winter's only significant snowfall.

Storm Barra hit early in December, followed by a cold spell throughout Christmas and New Year, with council workers gritting and filling almost 2000 grit bins as temperatures plunged.

Storm Corrie and Storm Malik followed, bringing severe gusts and heavy rain, but they were soon overtaken by what turned out to be a particularly stormy week in February.

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Storm in Sheffield

The council's highway contractor said from November, their teams have been gritting regularly, especially on higher ground, with almost twice as many gritting runs completed compared to routes below 200m.

This was despite the number of storms they dealt with, especially the three in quick succession during February - Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin – all of which brought extremely strong winds and heavy rain to Sheffield.

Kieron King, Principal Operations Manager in charge of the winter weather response for Streets Ahead, said: “Our teams were already stretched by the time Storm Eunice arrived, with 34 urgent reports and 16 fallen trees earlier in the week due to Storm Dudley. Despite very challenging conditions, we worked around the clock, responding to 51 urgent calls in a five-hour period.

“What we didn’t know at that point was what Storm Franklin had in store, bringing torrential rain and more storm force winds. To say this period was unprecedented is no over statement!”

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210 urgent reports of damaged trees, 85 reports of flooding

In total, the Arborists and Team Surgeons team responded to 210 urgent reports of damaged and fallen trees, and the Drainage team dealt with 85 reports of flooding during this period.

Several roads were closed temporarily as Streets Ahead operatives worked to clear surface water.

Streets Ahead also revealed that heavy rain of Storm Franklin brought the third highest river levels on record for the River Don, resulting in the closure of the the Lower Don Valley flood gates and the activation of Meadowhall’s flood defences to protect hundreds of businesses and infrastructure in the area.

Flood defences installed across the city since 2007, backed up by channel clearance, highways repairs and improved drainage works protected Sheffield from significant flooding.

Executive member for Housing, Roads and Waste Management at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Paul Wood, said: “Winter weather can often be unpredictable, and this year was no exception, with numerous storms causing disruption up and down the country.

“Thankfully, Streets Ahead were on standby in Sheffield when the bad weather hit, helping to keep the roads moving and clearing them of debris and water.

“Whilst we didn’t see much snow this year, we had lots of freezing temperatures, which meant the gritting lorries were on the move frequently from the end of November.”

During this last winter season alone, Sheffield priority routes were gritted 113 times using approximately 12,000 tonnes of grit and salt to keep the roads clear of snow and ice.