UK Weather: More Flood Warnings After September Storms

More Flood Warnings After September Storms

Thousands of people face another day of misery caused by the worst September storm for 30 years.

Heavy downpours swelled rivers and flooded 400 homes and businesses, while rail and road networks were swamped by high water levels.

While the rain will continue to ease off today, dozens of communities have been warned they are still at risk.

The RSPCA had to step in to rescue donkeys (one of whom was called none other than Noah!) from their field in Cattal near York

Residents of a block of townhouses in Newburn, Newcastle, were among those facing a second night out of their homes after floodwater gouged out the ground beneath the building, which remains cordoned off amid safety concerns.

Businesses were damaged and looters broke into the KB Cycles near to the stricken townhouses, stealing bikes worth tens of thousands of pounds from the shop while roads were blocked by water and silt.

This morning there were still more than 50 flood warnings, mostly in the North East, and 80 less serious flood alerts.

There were fears that the modern housing blocks could crumple as torrents of water washed away their foundations

The River Ouse at York, which yesterday flooded riverside car parks, is still rising and is expected to reach five metres (16ft 5in) this morning, the Environment Agency said, and could rise further still as water levels peak upstream of the city.

The River Wharfe yesterday split the North Yorkshire town of Tadcaster in two, forcing firefighters to close the bridge carrying the A659 over the river after they noticed water seeping through the structure.

The Wharfe is now falling from three metres , the Ure at Aldwark Bridge is expected to remain high and the Aire is due to subside, the Environment Agency said.

The floods washed away material around the foundations as a waterfall surged through the backgarden

Another North Yorkshire town, Boroughbridge, was also divided yesterday when the bridge over the River Ure was closed due to flooding.

Firefighters had to rescue people from a number of riverside homes in the area.

Further north, a small bridge partially collapsed in the village of Scorton, near Richmond.

The river Tweed bursts its banks in the centre of Peebles, Scottish Borders as rain causes misery for many across the UK.

The road and rail network was still struggling to return to normal, with delays and disruptions continuing to affect the north of England.

The A1M remained closed northbound near Catterick between junction 49 and the A66 at Scotch Corner, and is likely to remain shut until noon.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: "We are still unsure as to when it will be reopened, as there is a lot of water in the adjacent fields running off on to the carriageway.

Elevated walkways carry pedestrians to walk above floodwater in York as the River Ouse continues to rise today following the torrential rainfalls of the past few days.

"The fire services are due to reassess the situation at midday."

The floods have been triggered by more than double the average rainfall for the month falling since Sunday.

Councils have called on the Government to set up an emergency fund to help pay for millions of pounds of repairs to roads damaged by the persistent rain and flooding in the past few months.

The Local Government Association warned repairs would be needed to bridges, roads and pavements and the urgent nature of the repairs could leave stretched town hall budgets in disarray.

It said funds might have to be diverted from elsewhere to plug the gap, causing cuts to services or planned infrastructure projects that aim to boost growth being put on the back-burner.

The LGA is urging the Government to set up an Emergency Capital Highways Maintenance Fund, as it did following the floods which hit swathes of the country in summer 2007.

Beautiful but dangerous: flood waters in the fields around Tewkesbury Abbey

The latest downpours have also raised concerns over the progress of talks between the insurance industry and government on the future provision of insurance for homes in flood-prone areas back into focus.

Existing arrangements, under which most households at risk of flooding are able to get cover, are set to end in less than a year, and with little sign of a replacement there are fears over whether at-risk families will get affordable insurance in the future.

Insurers estimate the typical cost of repairing and refurbishing a flooded property is around £20,000.

Alison Baptiste, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Flooding has a devastating impact on people, families and communities, and our thoughts are with those who have been flooded this week.

"We would urge people, especially in the North of England, to continue to be prepared for flooding, sign up for free flood warnings, keep up to date with the latest situation, and stay away from dangerous floodwater."

Emergency services have dealt with hundreds of calls and incidents across the north of England and Wales over the past few days.

Volunteers from the RNLI joined flood rescue efforts in Stockton, Teeside, using an inflatable dingy to evacuate people from their homes and transport gas engineers to suspected leaks.

The RSPCA said it rescued two donkeys, 15-year-old Davy and four-year-old Noah, from a field in the village of Cattal, York, after flooding left them in deep water.


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