Warning of flooded properties and transport disruption as river levels rise
The Environment Agency say more properties could be flooded in the coming days
More properties will flood over the next five days amid increased river levels and more rain, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.
More than 1,800 properties have already flooded after prolonged wet weather and intense rainfall, the agency said, with the impact of high water levels likely to continue over the coming days, particularly around the rivers Trent, Severn and Thames.
The agency said buildings “will flood and there will be travel disruption” during that time period, and local groundwater flooding is also possible in the South of England, Yorkshire and the Humber.
On Sunday morning, 192 flood warnings and 207 flood alerts were in place in England with one warning in Wales at Tendy as the forecast was largely dry but cold.
Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Significant river flooding impacts are still expected… over the next few days across parts of the River Thames in Oxfordshire as well as the River Trent near Nottingham, and the River Severn, including Gloucester.
“The prolonged wet weather and intense rainfall has led to flooding impacts and our thoughts are with all of those affected.”
The floods have caused a political row, with Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for housing and communities Helen Morgan calling on Rishi Sunak to visit affected areas, saying: “The Prime Minister should see for himself the devastation caused by these floods.”
Mr Sunak is likely to be questioned about the Government’s response to flooding during his appearance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
Labour has accused the Government of being “asleep at the wheel” over flood warnings with leader Sir Keir Starmer vowing to make flood defences “fit for purpose”, writing on social media that “people’s lives shouldn’t be upended by extreme rain”.
Sir Keir is likely to step up the pressure when he appears on Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.
The Government said on Saturday that flood-hit communities can apply for funding to help them through the “extreme challenges” brought about by the rains and strong winds.
In a joint announcement, Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said financial support was available to eligible areas in England that experience “exceptional localised flooding” between January 2-8.
Mr Gove and Mr Barclay said those affected would “not have to deal with it alone” as they announced funding and tax relief for communities feeling the effects of flooding.
The conditions have continued to have an impact on travel around the country with GWR saying it expected the line between Bristol Parkway and Swindon to be closed on Sunday and Monday following flooding near Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire.
The rail company said alternative routes will be used but some services could be cancelled.
A father who spent 11 years developing his business from scratch said it is “heart-breaking” to see the damage caused by flooding that hit his caravan park on Wednesday.
David Walters, 51, worked as a “one-man band” to develop Cresslands Touring Park, South Lincolnshire.
On Wednesday, flood water left everything “drenched”, before receding and breaking the cap off the borehole, which supplies water to the whole site and Mr Walters’ home nearby.
He told the PA news agency: “It flooded a couple of Christmases ago, but historically the river (near the site) has never been above 1.5m. But I had this horrendous feeling the night before because of the saturation and the atrocious weather we’ve had through December and into January.
“As you’re seeing, water rising in such a rapid way heading towards you, you’re almost weirdly paralysed.
“I was just staring at certain elements of my garden, for example, and just watching it creep up and just praying and hoping it didn’t hit my home, which it thankfully didn’t, but everything else got completely drenched.”
An assessment of the premises will take place on Monday, with the cost expected to be more than £20,000.
A woman who owns Cotswold Canoe Hire in Lechlade-on-Thames, Gloucestershire, shared footage of her business where flood water was moving in “strong currents”.
Edith Cameron said: “I tried to empty the water, but realised there was no point because as soon as I got rid of water in one location, it would just come back up through the floor.”
She said it was still “completely flooded” on Saturday, adding: “It’s really sad; it’s devastating.
“It’s going to take quite a while for us to even think about clearing up as the water level is so high.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub