Forty flood warnings in force as west is hit by rain storms – again

A A A

More than 40 separate flood warnings from the Environment Agency were in force last night as heavy rains brought major problems to the west of the country.

A weekend of extreme weather saw icy conditions causing road chaos in the West Midlands, with ambulance crews in Worcestershire called to eight crashes in two hours yesterday morning. Parts of Scotland were faced with up to 10-15cm of snow due last night, leading forecasters to predict flooding as it melts.

Families in the west of England hard hit by last summer's floods face a new inundation today. Rapidly swelling water levels on the river Severn near Gloucester and Tewkesbury, which was turned into an island by flooding in July, are expected to peak this afternoon. Hundreds of acres are at risk.

Emergency barriers were placed along the riverfront at Upton upon Severn at 7pm on Friday and the river was expected to reach 4.7 metres last night, said the Environment Agency. It rose 1.83m between 8am Friday and 6pm yesterday, compared to a usual rise of 1m.

Further barriers have been placed at Shrewsbury and Worcester, along the Severn. They will remain up for the foreseeable future. A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "We're not going to take them down until we have a clear idea of what the weather will bring."

Drinkers at the King's Head, which is on the Upton on Severn riverfront, said yesterday that they had become used to the flooding.

John Dean, 59, said: "We were going to have a competition for the rowing club tomorrow but the reason we cannot row is the speed of the water and the debris and trees."

Chris Lee, 57, said: "It costs £20,000 to put it [the barrier] up and £20,000 to take it down. It wants a permanent barrier, a brick wall."

Another warning is in place for the River Lyd at the town of Lydney, in southwest Gloucestershire, which was also badly affected last summer. About a dozen houses have already been inundated, including the home of John and Karen Pritchard, who were forced out only weeks after replacing floors damaged in July.

Chew Stoke Church Primary School, in Somerset, was evacuated on Friday afternoon after becoming marooned. Headteacher Sarah Fuller said: "The rain started to fall just after midday and it got very difficult to get cars in. We made the decision to close. The waters rose so dramatically that the only way in was over the gardens. The children had to be carried on their parents' backs or shoulders."

Also on Friday, the Forest of Dean suffered downpours – almost all the average rainfall for January fell in one day.

Wind and snow have added to the chaos. Roads were blocked yesterday and power lines brought down, leaving 700 homes in the Stroud area without electricity. Workers were unable to get to the spot to repair the damage because of flooding.

In Devon, a woman was saved after falling into the swollen River Avon, near Kingsbridge, while walking her dog. And an elderly couple were rescued after being trapped in their car in 3ft of floodwater near Axminster.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence