York Floods September 2012 – Urban City Photography Yorkshire

The last week in September saw the highest river level in the Ouse for 12 years. Damage to properties was pretty much limited to those known to be at risk of flooding during exceptionally high river levels. York’s flood defences are designed to cope with the river at these heights but there are still a number of homes and businesses that were inundated with water and I’m sure for those effected it was a very difficult few days.

I took a couple of walks around the city to document what was happening.

Skeldergate contains quite a number of river front flats. Nice views of the waterfront and all that. Most of them have car parks underneath which flood a few times a year meaning everyone has to move their cars elsewhere. Usually that’s the only inconvenience and occasionally in higher floods they have to use gangways to access their flats. The height of the river this time meant they were completely cut off with the gangways underwater. If you were in, then you were stuck if you weren’t then you’d be needing somewhere else to stay for a few nights. I also counted 4 cars in the various garages here so owners obviously hadn’t been able to move their cars in time and were up to their roofs in water.

The Millennium bridge in Fulford was cut off at one end meaning a 3 mile round trip for cyclists and walkers needing to cross the river Ouse here. On the plus side the high water does allow for reflections not normally possible.

The A19 at Fulford under a couple of foot of water. This is one of the major roads out of York and its closure caused considerable traffic chaos throughout the city.

Skeldergate from a side street. There should be a road in the foreground

There are many lamps at various levels of submersion. Shame they couldn’t be turned off to save a bit of electricity as I doubt the ducks have much use for their light.

Walk past these houses on Friars terrace on a sunny afternoon and you would probably think they are among the best houses in the city. I don’t know if they were flooded this time as access was impossible but they certainly looked precarious

A drain attempts to swirl up the retreating floodwater on Alma Terrace

The River Foss is protected from flooding by the Foss Barrier which pumps out the water from this basin into the Ouse to prevent flooding from this normally canal like river.

From Clifford’s tower’s mound you can see the flooding on tower street and in the distance St George’s field car park

Clifford’s tower developed a moat

Ouse bridge (the location for the feature shot) makes a great place to view the floods from

Kings Staith in flood including the famous ‘Kings Arms’ pub which is well used to a watering from the Ouse

From the other side of the Ouse bridge these waterfront building usually have a less prominent riverside view

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Catherine Kelly

9 years ago

Beautiful and sad.


9 years ago

So sorry about the floods! I’ve been through a few myself here in Illinois. I must say, though, that you have taken great photographs of a tantrum by Mother Nature. I really like the way you use the night, the light and the water. Very impressive.