UK weather: More than 100 flood warnings in place with parts of country close to wettest autumn on record

Nearly 100 people rescued in new ‘hot spot’ after river Avon bursts its banks

Jane Dalton@JournoJane
Friday 15 November 2019 23:13
UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Some parts of the UK are close to having their wettest autumn on record following more downpours, experts say.

More than 100 flood warnings are in place across England as communities continue to mop up after disastrous deluges that forced more than 1,200 people to abandon their homes.

In all, 107 flood warnings are still in place across much of England and parts of Wales after the rain fell onto already saturated ground and the flooding left roads impassable.

Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said: “Some places are close to having their wettest autumn on record and we have two more weeks of November to go.”

But he added that the forecast is hopeful for the affected areas, with new rain “not expected to be heavy or persistent” in the flooded areas.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued 97 people and a dog in 43 different incidents when vehicles had become stuck in water.

Six people and a pet dog were also rescued by boat during two separate rescues in Evesham, Worcestershire, on Friday morning, the brigade said, as the river Avon burst its banks.

The river has reached its highest level in the town since the damaging floods of 2007, and a number of homes and properties have been inundated, according to the Environment Agency.

The town’s community hospital has closed to new admissions as a “precaution”.

John Curtin, executive director of flood and coastal risk management at the agency, said up to 30 homes near the river at Evesham had been flooded, and described the area as the latest flooding “live hot spot”.

The agency has urged people and drivers not to risk travelling through flood water, pointing to the risk of becoming stranded and then tying up the emergency services.

It has also warned people the water could pose a risk to health.

Fears have now arisen for Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. Images of Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway’s cottage showed it surrounded by water.

Flood barriers were erected in the town on Friday in an attempt to protect the area.

Mr Curtin said some frontline teams had been rostered all the way through Christmas already.

“We don’t want people to think, ‘it happened to Fishlake, it won’t happen to me’. Today it is Evesham, tomorrow where next?”

He said 900 properties had been flooded but 21,000 had been protected.

Mr Curtin said 38 pumps had been used in homes in Fishlake, adding that all houses in the village should be free of water by Sunday.

Boris Johnson, whose response to the floods has been criticised by some of those affected, announced that the worst affected households and businesses would be eligible for immediate relief on their council tax and business rates.

Met Office forecasters say the wet weather is expected to ease over the weekend, despite the potential for showers, but Monday and Tuesday would bring sub-zero temperatures.

Additional reporting by PA

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