UK weather: Before and after the deluge - how the floods retreated

 

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Floods which left much of the Thames Valley under water and sent residents scrambling for dry land during the wettest winter on record are now retreating rapidly, as these photographs show.

Only days ago, the water in the Berkshire village of Datchet was deep enough for a gondola to cross the village green to promote the local Piccola Venezia restaurant. Now the green looks surprisingly pristine, as the main images show.

In Wraysbury, Kenneth Keeble’s garden was turned into a pond but by Tuesday things were almost back to normal.

The children of Wraysbury now have their playground back, with images comparing how it looked on 11 February with the scene on Tuesday.

The final images show the river at Datchet (below). On 10 February, the floodwaters nearly reached the top of the benches that line its banks. By Tuesday, they were below seat level.

 

The Met Office said that this winter has been the wettest since records began in 1910. Between 1 December and 19 February, 486.8mm (19.2 inches) of rain fell, beating the previous record of 485.1mm, set in 1995.

Parts of Windsor and Maidenhead, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Wokingham, West Berkshire and the Somerset Levels could remain flooded for some time, the Met Office said.

And this evening the Environment Agency still had two severe flood warnings in place – indicating a danger to life – along with 70 flood warnings and 120 flood alerts.

The agency said the flood risk over the next three days was “high” on the Somerset Levels; “medium” on stretches of the Thames and in parts of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Kent, Brighton and Hove, and Croydon; and “low” along the north coast of Devon and Cornwall and along parts of coastal Dorset.

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