Irish perspectives on English floods

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“When the Lord saw how wicked everyone on earth was and how evil their thoughts were all the time, he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth,” the Book of Genesis tells us. So, there was nothing else for it but to drown them all.

Noah, 600 years old, was the only decent man about the place, so God told him to build a boat big enough for himself, his family and a pair of every type of creature. The rest, as they say, is history.

Back to the present and even by our standards it’s been an extraordinarily wet winter, although for once, we’ve been spared the worst of it. The jet stream is further south than usual, bringing the deluge to Britain. The floods there have been described as “biblical”. It’s a wonder some DUP genius hasn’t been on telling us that wicked people live along the Thames and in Somerset.

But then it’s not literally a flood of biblical proportions. Young Noah’s cruising menagerie drifted around for almost a year on waters 25 feet above the highest mountains!

Derry has suffered flash flooding after heavy rain but not from river flooding. Tidal estuaries have more spare capacity than non-tidal sections of rivers. So it was that heavy rain caused the Mourne to flood Strabane in October 1987. Since then, greatly improved concrete walls have protected the town.

Incidentally, it’s interesting to hear demands for river dredging in England. Here, we’ve tended to opt for building hugely expensive flood walls.

In towns like Strabane, they may be necessary but for other places, has the cheaper option of dredging even been considered? I’ve never heard any mention of it over here.