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Gloucestershire weather: Storms and flooding leave emergency crews and Environment Agency preparing for worst

By citizenmike  |  Posted: January 03, 2014

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Flood defences at Longney are breached

  • River Severn spills out onto The Quay in Gloucester

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Flood water at The Severn Bore Inn

  • Wainlodes flood water (picture by Matthew Zajczyk)

  • Horses in flood waters at Sandhurst

  • River Severn bursts its banks at Maisemore

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (1)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (2)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (3)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (4)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (5)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (6)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (7)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (8)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (9)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (10)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (11)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (12)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (13)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (14)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (15)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (16)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (17)

  • Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (18)

Comments (3)

Three severe flood warnings remain in place in Gloucestershire this morning as a tidal surge forced the River Severn to break its banks, leaving many county roads under water.

The Severn Bore has now gone through Elmore and Minsterworth and the water has overtopped the defences in some parts. The tidal surge is following behind and is due to reach Gloucester around 11am. All agencies are asking people to stay away from the water. Coastguards have been used megaphones to warn people to stay away.

Gloucestershire Highways area manager Jason Humm said: “We’ve had a fair amount of rainfall on saturated ground so there has been some surface water on the highways and we would urge drivers to continue to take extra care travelling around the county.

“We’ve had additional gangs on overnight and into this morning and the workforce will prioritise any flooding issues that may arise. Rising river levels have caused some issues with roads locally and we are anticipating further issues at the A417 in Maisemore. Gangs are fully prepared to react immediately if needed and we would encourage people to use alternative routes.”

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VIDEO: Gloucester mayor Chris Chatterton surveys the River Severn in Gloucester

VIDEO: Reporter Mike Wilkinson at the Westgate Bridge

Some of the county's roads are now under flood water. The River Severn burst its banks and flooded the A48 just past Minsterworth. The A48 was closed between Oakle Street and Elton Corner, but has now been reopened and is "passable with care", police said.

There are reports of fields flooding by the river in Westbury-on-Severn. Northway Lane in Tewkesbury is currently impassable due to flooding. Goose Lane in Rodley is also impassable.

The A417 between Maisemore and Over roundabout has been closed.

Other areas to watch out for include:

  • A46 between Stratford Road, Stroud, and Gloucester Road, Painswick

  • B4063 Cheltenham Road East
  • M48 Severn Crossing closed both ways due to the weather - use the M4 Second Severn Crossing instead
  • A417 between Persh Lane, at Maisemore, and A40, in Gloucester - reports of deep water near to the White Hart Inn
  • B4077 partially blocked due to fallen tree between Church Lane, at Toddington, and A424 Evesham Road, at Stow-on-the-Wold
  • Goose Lane, Rodley, is currently impassable
  • Elmore Lane is closed

VIDEO: A football in the River Chelt

The Severn Bore came in at 8.55am this morning but a tidal surge pushed more water in. The car park of the Severn Bore Inn had to be evacuated at 9.20am as water flooded in. It will hit Gloucester at 10am.

Rest centres in Stroud, Tewkesbury, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean are all on standby and councils are working with vulnerable people in the affected areas.

There are 17 other flooding warnings also active in the county.

Gloucestershire Police say more officers will be out on the county's roads this morning to keep an eye on the situation but Superintendent Jim McCarthy is asking people to avoid driving through flood waters. He said: "In this type of situation, things can change rapidly and we’re asking all drivers to avoid the roads close to the River Severn wherever possible. If you're in an area with a flooded road, please avoid driving through the standing water as it maybe hiding debris or loose manhole covers.

"For those who were planning to watch the Severn Bore go through later this morning, we're asking them to avoid the area completely.”

Despite the warning, some people have this morning ignored the advice and headed down to catch a glimpse of the Severn Bore.

Simon McMillan, area commander for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue, said: “We are in close dialogue with the Environment Agency and Met Office but there is a certain amount of unpredictability. The worst case scenario is that the Severn defences are topped and people end up trapped in their homes of people being swept away. That is why we are urging people to stay away from the river.”

He admitted that strike action currently taking place by the Fire Brigade Union was ‘unfortunate timing'. He said: “We have put together an interim service, which is not quite a normal service, but we are confident that the people of Gloucestershire are safe. It is unfortunate timing but we will cope.”

There are currently 27 fire appliances operating across the county.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT LATEST

All trains are running on time. The landslip at Stonehouse yesterday has now been cleared.

WEATHER LATEST

Met Office advisor Arwyn Harris has given an update on the current situation and looking ahead. He said: "Strong Southwesterly winds now (0700) starting to pick up in the Bristol Channel and already reaching Gales force around coasts of Wales. This is in line with our expectations from yesterday, so we have good confidence in our forecast, and we continue to expect gales to affect Bristol Channel/Irish Sea for the remainder today, providing the forcing mechanism for the storm surge conditions in the Severn Estuary and adjacent coasts.

"The winds across Gloucestershire itself today won’t be quite as bad as out over the open sea/welsh coasts, – but it will be strong at times with some quite gusty conditions, especially during showers – when we could see gusts of 50-55mph at times today anywhere across the county – enough to perhaps cause some tree damage or affect weakened structures, and could make small boat handling a bit tricky at times too. These gusty winds will ease down this evening though.

"The showers themselves will be heavy enough to be unpleasant and reduce visibility for a time, but shouldn’t be a big factor in increasing flood risk, although of course all extra water is unhelpful, but primary concern today is coastal flooding risk.

"Further ahead into Saturday, winds will be less but we will have more rain on and off throughout the day..although it doesn’t look like we will see large amounts of rain.

"Sunday will bring a more significant spell of wind and rain though, with plenty of rain falling again into the headwaters of the major rivers in Wales too."

ADVICE FROM SOUTH WEST AMBULANCE SERVICE

With the current weather warnings in place, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging the public to stay safe and keep informed.

The weather problems are at their peak during the high-tide periods so those in coastal areas should familiarise themselves with the local times and expected impact.

The changing conditions on the roads is making driving very hazardous – SWASFT has already attended 13 road traffic collisions this morning.

The public can be reassured that all emergency, public and health services are working together to continue to provide a safe and effective service to all communities in the South West. However, it is vital that the public think about the most appropriate service for their needs before calling 999.

Anyone suffering a life-threatening emergency should always call 999. If it is not a life-threatening emergency, we would urge the public to think about using other available healthcare services – NHS111, walk-in-centres, minor injury units, pharmacies etc; please visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk for further information.

USEFUL WEATHER AND FLOODING LINKS

Environment Agency flood warnings in place in Gloucestershire

Latest Gloucestershire weather forecast

Glosprepared

Met Office

Gloucestershire County Council flooding advice

Interactive flooding map

Severn Bore times

Read more from Gloucester Citizen

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3 comments

  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 04 2014, 8:13AM

    The picture marked "Flooding in Newnham-on-Severn by Mark Turner (14)" shows the reason anyone surfing the bore during flooding is a MUPPET! The tree in the middle of the river could easily kill, the "rescue boat" could bet trashed and the occupants thrown into the river, SARA or the fire brigade would have to risk their lives to rescue some thrill seeking idiots!

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 04 2014, 8:05AM

    Billfoster - Correct, the National Rivers Authority was created to ease the privatization of the "Water Boards" as the investor friends of Margret Thatcher dis not want the risk of having to pay for flood defenses and most people had forgotten the floods of 1968 but not the investors. The NRA was short lived and was swallowed up by the EA it only lasted 7 years! I know people used to take the river levels in the area where they worked on the way to work and home, but then the Water Boards had small depots spread out not in one central location. The current Government is in the process of cutting the EA's budget, who's going to do the work then?

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  • billfoster  |  January 03 2014, 6:39PM

    The big mistake was getting rid of the river authority, all those years ago and selling off the water companies and stopping dredging. The Severn is now not as deep as it used to be , by many meters, so it's bound to flood. They , the env agency, need to spend some money, or the water companies, and we should go back to dredging.

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