River in flood-ravaged UK town reaches highest level in 200 years following Storm Dennis

UK Weather

The River Wye in Hereford has reached its highest level in at least 200 years in the wake of Storm Dennis lashing the area with torrential rain. The River Taff in Pontypridd reached its highest level in more than 40 years and the River Usk reached the highest level since 1979.

Britain will be lashed by more heavy rain this week in the wake of Storm Dennis, as some severely flooded areas are said to be in “uncharted territory”.

Communities across the country are counting the cost of Storm Dennis, which brought record levels of flooding and left hundreds of properties underwater.

River Wye

The River Wye reached 6.11 meters (20ft) – its highest since records began – on Monday, with residents in Hereford saying they had never seen anything like it. The River Wye burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.

In the Welsh town of Monmouth, the River Wye reached a record level of 7.15 meters (over 23 feet). Residents of one flooded street used canoes to get to a nearby supermarket and mountain rescue teams saved one man from his flooded home by raft.

The Welsh water supplier asked residents to reduce their usage after a water treatment plant was flooded and lost power. Welsh Water said it had “limited storage of drinking water until we’re able to access and restart the treatment works.”

The Environment Agency (EA) describing the River Wye levels as “exceptional” and residents in Hereford saying they had never seen anything like it.

EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Dave Throup tweeted on Monday night: “I’ve seen things today I would not have believed. Large parts of my hometown and village are underwater tonight.

“This is not normal flooding, we are in uncharted territory.”

The River Trent, which had prompted a severe flood warning for Burton-on-Trent, also peaked at a record level of just below 4 meters on Tuesday.

The River Lugg also burst its banks.

Hundreds of properties have been flooded and at-risk areas evacuated across England and Wales after the downpours brought to the UK by Storm Dennis.

Flood-hit communities are braced for further heavy rain as river levels continue to threaten to breach barriers.

Kate Marks of the EA said that even though Storm Dennis had passed, “we’ll be feeling the impacts for a few more days”.

“There’s a lot more water in the river systems. In particular we are worried about the Rivers Severn, Teme and Wye,” Dr Marks said.

Both the Rivers Wye and Severn will remain especially high into the weekend.

West Mercia Police said an estimated 384 properties had been “significantly impacted by the floods” across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

Residents in the Shropshire towns of Ironbridge and Bridgnorth were urged to evacuate their properties, while residents in Bewdley near Kidderminster were warned flood barriers at Beales Corner might not be able to withstand the rising water levels.

Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss said: “Water levels have been unprecedented in many places and the impact of such high-levels of flooding has been substantial across all the agencies, but more significantly to members of the public affected in any way.”

The EA said 599 properties had been flooded across England as of Tuesday afternoon. Some 800 homes in Wales had been directly affected by flooding, first minister Mark Drakeford told the BBC.

More than 6km of temporary flood barriers have been erected across the country and flood defenses have protected nearly 25,000 properties from the impacts of the storm, the EA said.

But record-breaking river levels and continued rainfall means further flooding is possible across much of the country, said EA executive director of flood and coastal risk management John Curtin.

“We expect further disruptive weather into tomorrow and Thursday, bringing a significant flood risk to the West Midlands, and there are flood warnings in place across much of England,” he said.

Weather warnings

The Met Office said rain would start to build up in the west from mid-morning on Wednesday.

Over the next two days there could be up to 100 millimeters of rain in north Wales and 50-60mm in south Wales.

The rain will then move north, with Cumbria and Yorkshire likely to be most affected.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for persistent rain in Wales and North West England for Wednesday and Thursday, and the north of England on Friday into Saturday.

EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Dave Throup said the level of flooding had left affected parts in “uncharted territory”.

Six severe flood warnings remained in place on Wednesday morning: for the River Wye and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop; for the River Severn at New Street and Waterside, Upton on Severn; and for the River Severn at Ironbridge and Uckinghall.

In Wales, two severe warnings in place on the River Wye at Monmouth were downgraded by Natural Resources Wales, although the Wye bridge in the town remained closed.

Nine severe flood warnings, meaning there is a danger to life, were in place on Tuesday morning across England and Wales.

On Monday, the environment minister George Eustice admitted the government cannot protect every household from flooding.

West Mercia Police advised people in Upton-upon-Severn and Uckinghall in Worcestershire to evacuate on Monday evening due to rising river levels.

Assistant chief constable Geoff Wessell said there was a “level of relief” for Upton-upon-Severn on Tuesday morning as flood defenses appeared not to have been breached.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It’s not overtopped. Preparations were made. We’ve had good support from the locals to leave if they needed to. But a level of relief for us.”

Wessell advised people to remain cautious, not to drive through floodwater and to remain ready to leave their homes if they need to.

People were evacuated from their homes in Telford on Tuesday morning as water pressure from the River Severn caused the road surface to crack.

Residents of the Wharfage, located along the river, were being taken to a cafe on the High Street in Ironbridge, while 21 cars parked in the area were brought to a nearby park and ride to save them from flooding, Telford and Wrekin Council said.

The council said the river’s flood peak was moving towards the Ironbridge Gorge and was expected to arrive there later on Tuesday.

The EA has issued severe flood warnings for the River Severn at Upton-upon-Severn and Uckinghall, the River Wye at Hereford and Hampton Bishop, the River Trent at Burton upon Trent and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism for not visiting affected areas and resisting calls to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra to tackle the flooding.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said it was a “disgrace” that Johnson had “refused” to visit affected communities.

The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings for snow and ice over parts of Scotland, with further warnings of persistent rain in Wales for Wednesday and Thursday, which could be extended to the north west of England.

Storm Dennis wreaks deadly havoc

Storm Dennis — the second major storm of the winter —- blew through the UK on Saturday and Sunday, bringing wind gusts of up to 145 kph (90 mph) and heavy rain that flooded roads, railways, homes and businesses. The storm killed three people in Britain.

The storm led officials to issue rare “danger to life” warnings.

James Bevan, chief executive of the EA, which is responsible for flood protection, said more than 400 homes in England had been flooded while at least 1,000 agency staff were working “to protect and support those communities which have been hit”.

“This is not yet over,” he told BBC radio.

“We still have many flood warnings in force and we may still see significant flooding in the middle of this week from larger rivers.”

In Britain, more than 600 warnings and alerts – a record number – were issued on Sunday, extending from the River Tweed on the border of England and Scotland to Cornwall in the southwest.

In northern England, the defense ministry deployed troops in West Yorkshire, which had also been hit by flooding from last weekend’s Storm Ciara.

Youth climate activists gathering for a national conference in Staffordshire, west central England, were forced to cancel the event because of the storm.

“There’s a bleak irony in our being beaten back by climate change,” 15-year-old attendee Sophia said in a statement released by organizers.

Police said a man in his 60s died after entering the River Tawe, north of the Welsh city of Swansea, but later clarified that the death was not “linked to the adverse weather”.

Meanwhile the bodies of two men were pulled from rough seas off the south coast of England on Saturday as the storm barrelled in.

Britain’s Coastguard said it had sent a helicopter and rescue team to join navy and other search vessels after receiving reports of a man overboard in the sea near Margate, Kent.

“After many hours of searching, a body was sadly found in the water… and was brought to shore,” it added.

Around the same time in nearby Herne Bay, emergency responders discovered another dead man following reports a person had been pulled from the sea, according to Kent police.

There were transport disruptions too, with hundreds of flights cancelled due to the high winds while train services were repeatedly disrupted by flooding. Tens of thousands of passengers were affected on what is a major travel weekend for British families as many schools close for a mid-winter break.


The storm also pummelled much of France, with some 20,000 people without electricity on Monday after suffering power cuts in the northwest.


The storm also left a trail of flooding and power outages across northern Europe, including in southwestern Sweden.

The high seas churned up by the storm dragged an abandoned cargo ship, the MV Alta, and left it to crash upon the shore near Ballycotton in County Cork, southwest Ireland. The abandoned ship was last seen near west Africa coast.




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