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20,000,000 TONS OF WATER. Twenty million tons of water is the estimated quantity of the great flood that devastated the little town of Louth, in Lincolnshire, according to evidence at the inquest on 22 of the victims. The cause of the disaster is still a mystery, but eye-witnesses spoke of a great twisting cloud that, pierced by lightning, fell in a mass. After this, a roaring torrent of water cut a swathe through the streets and lanes, killng men, women and children. Some vivid details of the flood were given at the inquest held by the coroner, Mr Herbert Sharpley, on 22 of the victims. Therte was no definite evidence as to the exact cause of the enormous quantity of water that swept through the streets. This quantity was estimated by one witness at 9,000,000 tons and by another at 20,000,000 tons. The jury found that the deaths were due to suffocation by drowning caused by the sudden flooding of a portion of the town, and that from the evidence before them the flooding was caused by an abnormal rainfall. A resident in a neighbouring village told how he noticed a huge cloud twisting about in the air and suddenly being burst by lightning shortly before the occurrence in Louth itself. __ , The coroner said he thought it might be wise to extend the inquiry a little beyond the immediate cause of death to ascertain if possible how it was that Louth became suddenly overwhelmed by a large body of water such as had never been known to occur on any previous occasion. LIGHTNING-PIERCED CLOUDS. Mr John Winters, of Benniworth, said he saw a flash of lightning pierce a heavy rain-cloud on the hills forming the water-shed. The thunderstorm began at about a quarter to two. The thunder and lightning were very severe, and from 2 p.m. to 3.15 p.m. it rained incessantly. About half-past three the rain came so fast that the spouts around the witness' house could not take the water, and it came through into bedrooms. In a moment half the neighbouring field was at least eight inches under water. "I noticed a huge cloud about the shape of an egg," he said, "which was twisting round and round, and then there were three distinct flashes of lightning. One of them shot through the cloud; and immediately the cloud seemed to come earthwards." The Coroner: You did not see anything come from the cloud in the shape of water? y Mr Winters: It was a sheer mist. FLOOD AFTER THUNDER. Mrs Edith Anne Brunnick, of Hubbard's Valley, spoke of a terrible j crash of thunder and a vivid flash of j lightning, "just as if the skies had ' been split open." A great stream of water 15 feet high came down the valley and struck her house. It all happened in a quarter of an hour. Mr Phillip Allison, the deputy-cor-oner, said he followed the course of the river and while there was evidence of heavy raiinfall there was nothing to account for the great volume which had passed through the tov/n. There -wore many great gullies, and at a height of 485 ft the fields had been struck by a volume of water and spring corn 6 to 8 inches high had been washed out of the ground. He said he could not find the word ; "cloudburst" in the dictionary, but, whatever it might be called, there had been an intensely abnormal rainfall over a comparatively small area. Beside the quantity of water given by the borough surveyor there were other waters which, added to it, would amount to perhaps about 19,000,000 or 20,000,000 tons; which swept away the parapets of the bridges. A Juror: Then you attribute it to the rainfall? The Deputy-Coroner: Absolutely. But, of course, it was an abnormal rainfall. This enormous rainfall was suddenly collected to a confined channel.

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Bibliographic details

LOUTH DISASTER., King Country Chronicle, Volume XIII, Issue 1402, 5 August 1920

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LOUTH DISASTER. King Country Chronicle, Volume XIII, Issue 1402, 5 August 1920