Britain Braced For Further Flooding

Britain Braced For Further Flooding

Much of England and Wales was braced for flooding today as further heavy rain continued to wreak havoc across the country.

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, which was devastated by flooding in July 2007, was on alert with the Environment Agency setting up an incident room there along with two others in the Midlands and another in the Wessex area.

The agency warned of localised flooding across parts of southern and eastern England, the Midlands and Wales, with a total of 31 flood warnings and 173 flood alerts in place on its website today.

A spokeswoman said: "It's not unusual to experience heavy downpours and some flooding - mainly of farmland - at this time of year, but we're continuing to closely monitor the forecast and rainfall particularly in areas along the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon, including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

"Environment Agency teams are out on the ground continuing a close watch on river levels as well as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding."

Ian Lock, landlord of the Boat Inn at Ashleworth, which is south of Tewkesbury next to the River Severn, told the BBC the water was "worryingly high".

"If we'd had a high tide on Saturday night we would have had trouble - thankfully we didn't - just another three or four feet and we would have had problems.

"We still could flood, the worry is if other towns further up the river put their flood defences up the water will come down here and we'll suffer."

Aisling Creevey, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the rain should ease off by this afternoon but heavy downpours would return tomorrow.

She said: "I can see anywhere between 15 and 30mm falling. It's difficult to see where the heaviest rain will fall. But most places should be dry by late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday morning."

South West England and Wales were battered by gusts of up to 71mph yesterday, while other parts of the country also suffered from strong winds and further downpours.

Trees and debris bringing lines down led to around 10,000 homes being left without power in south Wales and the West Midlands, as well as 2,000 in the South West, Western Power said.

Meanwhile Cardiff Council received reports of up to 60 trees brought down by the weather across the city.

Over a 24-hour period, police in Gloucestershire received more than 60 reports of trees down and localised flooding, and officers were called to help with a large tree that came down on the A417 near Cirencester.

Flooding was also seen across Devon and Somerset, with incidents in Kingskerswell, Brixham, Paignton, Barnstaple, Nethercott, near Lydeard St Lawrence, Bickenhall and West Hatch.

The latest downpours came at the end of a particularly wet week for England and Wales, in which 42mm (1.7in) of rain fell in the South East and 55mm (2.2in) in the South West, which has now had 166% of the average rainfall for April.

Many areas at risk of floods are currently in a state of drought, which is gripping the South East, East Anglia, the Midlands, the South West and south and east Yorkshire after two unusually dry winters in a row.


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