Sunday , February 28 2021

Prepare for 10 more days of flooding, people living along Severn told – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

Police have warned that people living along the River Severn could face another days of flooding misery with more rain showers predicted to sweep across affected areas.

Environment Agency officials and engineers were continuing to monitor a barrier at Ironbridge in Shropshire on Thursday after the weight of water caused it to buckle, prompting an emergency evacuation.

Severe flood warnings – meaning there is a danger to life – remain in place at Ironbridge. The agency said it was possible that the depth of flood water at the Wharfage in Ironbridge could reach 1.8m.

The situation was so dangerous that the authorities were using drones and remote cameras feeding images back to a control center so officers did not have to risk their lives to monitor the situation.

Though the river level was starting to fall, West Mercia police warned that more rain was predicted, which could top up the Severn again.

Its deputy chief constable, Julian Moss, said: “The multi-agency response is set to continue for the next 22 days as the flood waters are set to recede quite slowly and are likely to be topped up again with additional rain over the weekend and at the end of next week.

“We would therefore ask people to take this into consideration when making accommodation arrangements for themselves and any pets or livestock.”

To make the situation even more difficult, there was a covering of snow on Thursday in parts of Shropshire. A yellow weather warning for snow was in place.

Alex Burkill of the Met Office said: “It’s not just the snow, there’s going to be a fair bit of rainfall mixed in with it. It’s not going to be large amounts, between 10 – mm of rain in some places, but it could be falling on heavily saturated areas. ”

Football pitch inundated as River Severn floods parts of Worcestershire – video

Rebecca Pow, an environment minister, is due to visit Shrewsbury and is likely to face criticism at the government response to the crisis. There has been criticism of the prime minister and the environment secretary for not heading to Shropshire.

The severe flood warning that had been place for Shrewsbury has been downgraded but many roads remain closed in and around the town.

Further downstream, the river level at Bridgnorth and Bewdley remains high with flood warnings in place.

As well as the personal trauma the flooding was causing, the chair of Ironbridge Gorge’s world heritage site steering group, Marion Blockley, expressed concern about what he could be doing to the historic spot.

She said: “The world heritage site is not just the iron bridge. It is the former workers ’cottages, the warehouses, the industrial buildings, the other nearby villages,” she said. “The worry is that floods like this are putting the site at risk.”

The problem for Ironbridge is that the water is squeezed into a narrow gorge, meaning that 400 tonnes of water per second has been hurtling through. Residents reported a loud bang when the barrier was shunted into a kerbstone by the fast-flowing Severn.

By Thursday morning the river levels on the Severn had gone down by 400 cm at Shrewsbury, 80 cm at Ironbridge and cm at Bridgnorth.

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