Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The big storm

Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Ventilation 33 Paille 4200
Dry Tiles unstacked: Demi Ronde 33 BV

We've had two or 3 weeks of scortching weather. the factory has been hellish and everything is dry.
I'm on the press at about 10:00 pm and I notice the lights flickering. "No problem", I thought, "the mechanos are probably welding something again. Then a few far off booms - Ah, thunder. A storm coming. Thank God.
Suddenly the lights cut out and the press stops. Crash! goes the thunder. The whole factory is dark except for some emergency lights and, strangely, the neon above my press.
"Allez!" "Vas-y!" go the cries of all the workers. Machinery stopping is always a cause of celebration.
We go to the door to see what the storm is like and a practically blown back inside by a fierce wind. All the dust of the past 3 weeks in the factory has been blown up into the air and visibility inside and outside the factory is zero in the dust.
The lightning stikes are almost continuous and its like daylight outside. A howling hurricane wind is bending the trees and making all the corrugated skylights flap and crack.
Then the rain hits. Heavy, heavy, horizontal rain. The black cloud racing over us has a hard defined edge - the storm front.
In no time the ater is pouring in through the roofs ans the guttering can't cope with the load of water. The water comes pouring under the doors and the transbordeur has to be stopped because it is powered by an electric rail which is now under water.
All the water finds its way into the cellars where the conveyor belts that carry the clay around the factory are housed. The cellars are soon a foot deep in water.
I borrowed a colleagues mobile phone to call home as I was worried about Fiona struggling to close shutters in this wind. She's OK because the worst of the storm didn't hit Cherves.

I've been at the factory 18 months and this is the 3rs time ist flooded in a storm. Seems that when they build the new factory they didn't put adequate guttering in the valley between the roofs. Too late and too costly to put right.

A flood is exciting when its happening but VERY BORING when you have to clean up after it.


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