On Boxing Day, December 26th, the River Irwell burst its banks in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, causing all sorts of damage.
A report from The Telegraph online:
Saeed Atcha, a radio presenter, said: 'All of a sudden we heard a bang, we looked over to where the sound came from and couldn't see anything. Then a second later there was another explosion and then a big orange beam lit up the sky, like a flash. It was very very scary. Everyone was looking round in a state of shock.
A police officer shouted 'Get back into your house, there has been a gas explosion'.
'Two or three minutes later the police officer jumped into his [car and] drove away. After he gave the warning he evacuated himself '.
And, well, really, who can blame him?
Word Not To Use Reflexively Today Without Extreme Care: evacuate. This is rather a horrid word, partly because it's much too much like vacuous. It comes from the Latin ēvacuāre, from vacuus, empty.