Flood alert as rain set to sweep in again
The West is next in line for the devastating floods that have hit other parts of the country, have warned.
Caravan and camping sites across the region are on alert as yet more rain sweeps the region in this crazy summer of drought, hosepipe bans, an all-too-brief spell of being hotter than Barbados and several periods of flooding.
Yesterday, the Environment Agency warned people in West Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, north Gloucestershire, North Wales and parts of the Midlands to remain vigilant after the Met Office issued a weather warning for heavy rain. With another large area of rain moving in from the South West later today and overnight the risk continues into the weekend.
Parts of Sussex, including Felpham and Bognor Regis, saw hundreds of homes evacuated yesterday after flooding of up to 6ft.
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Emergency services used inflatable boats to reach 250 vulnerable homes.
It follows scenes of equal devastation in west Wales at the weekend and the less severe – but still financially damaging – floods that hit the West last month.
Communities as far apart as Taunton in Somerset and Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire were particularly badly hit and parts of the low-lying Somerset Levels still under water from earlier rainfall are bracing themselves for more problems.
The Environment Agency said the risk of flooding was very low but surface water and small fast-responding rivers could produce flash floods.
The warning came as three of the seven water authorities in the south and east announced that they had lifted hosepipe bans imposed after an exceptionally dry start to the year left some rivers as low as in the drought of 1976.
Meanwhile hundreds of acres of land on the Somerset Levels are still water-logged following the wettest April on record and continued downpours last month.
Meteorologists were predicting that up to 10mm could fall in one hour during yesterday’s rain, and as much as 30mm over the whole 12-hour period.
But the Environment Agency had only one flood alert in place in the West yesterday – on the mid River Avon and tributaries including Melksham and Bradford on Avon.
It urged the public to remain vigilant, stay away from swollen rivers and not drive through floodwater.
Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water removed their hosepipe restrictions at midnight last night.
Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, said: “While we prepared for the worst, bringing in restrictions to save water to ensure there would be enough if the dry spell continued, the topsy-turvy British weather had other ideas. We are really pleased we can now lift the ban but, with groundwater levels still low and the possibility of a third successive dry winter, we still need to be careful.”