Anxious wait for river levels to peak in flooded areas

The Met Office issued yellow warnings for wind and snow across parts of northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

23 February 2022

Residents in flooded areas are facing an anxious wait for river levels to peak.

In Bewdley, Worcestershire, fire and rescue crews were out checking properties and speaking to residents on Wednesday morning after flood defences were breached following heavy rainfall on Tuesday afternoon.

The River Severn is expected to peak in the town on Wednesday afternoon and a severe flood warning, meaning a danger to life, remains in place.

Meanwhile, the Met Office issued yellow warnings for wind and snow across parts of northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

In Ironbridge, Shropshire, the River Severn peaked on Wednesday morning and levels began to fall but a severe flood warning remains in place amid fears the barriers could break.

Winter weather Feb 23rd 2022
Flooded properties next to the River Severn following high winds and wet weather in Ironbridge, Shropshire (Jacob King/PA)

A spokesman for Telford and Wrekin Council said: “Water levels peaked during the night at 6.6m but are now slowly retreating. Water levels are still high against the barriers, so the Wharfage remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians.”

Shropshire Council said a flood reception centre had been set up to offer advice to residents in Bridgnorth, where river levels peaked on Wednesday morning.

Council leader Cllr Lezley Picton wrote on Twitter: “Today is #ShropshireDay, a day we should be celebrating all things #Shropshire.

A cyclist finds his path blocked in Bewdley
A cyclist finds his path blocked in Bewdley (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Currently many areas of Shropshire are under water and residents and businesses displaced. No celebrations today, just continued efforts to support those affected.”

As of 11am on Wednesday, there were 58 flood warnings, meaning flooding was expected, and 50 flood alerts, meaning a flood is possible, in place.

The last week has seen high winds and rain from storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin cause problems across the country and about 400 properties have already been flooded.

The Energy Networks Association said 1,800 customers were still without power as a result of the storms, but 1.48 million customers had been reconnected.

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said significant river flooding was expected in the coming days as she advised people to stay away from swollen rivers.

She said: “We have teams out on the ground taking preventative action, closing flood gates, deploying temporary barriers and moving pumps and other response equipment to areas of highest risk.

“Environment Agency defences have protected more than 40,000 properties despite record river levels.”

The Met Office said weather was expected to stay unsettled over the next few days.

A fire and rescue team in floodwater in Bewdley
A fire and rescue team in floodwater in Bewdley (Joe Giddens/PA)

A yellow weather warning for wind was in force across north-east England, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and parts of Scotland from 6am to 3pm on Wednesday.

A second yellow warning for wind and snow covers much of Scotland and Northern Ireland from 1pm on Wednesday until 3pm on Thursday – with up to 10cm of snow likely at even low levels and the possibility of 70mph gusts on coasts.

Met Office spokesman Richard Miles said: “There will be wintry weather for the northern and western parts of the UK with a cold front moving south-east and bringing wintry showers to Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as thunder and lightning.

“It will be staying mild in the south.

A garden arbour floats in the River Severn
A garden arbour floats in the River Severn (Jacob King/PA)

“For the areas experiencing flood impacts, that will stay the case for the next couple of days but there aren’t any additional impacts expected outside those areas.

“There will be rain across central and southern areas on Thursday so we will be seeing wet weather but not huge amounts of additional rain.”

He said there was nothing in the forecast for the next four to five days to suggest the UK could see another named storm but forecasters would be looking to see what was developing  over the Atlantic.

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