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Gloucestershire weather latest: Day of fear as rivers rise and rains come down

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 06, 2014

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FOR some it was the chance to have one last splash before going back to school, for others it was another day of fear and uncertainty as rivers threatened to break their banks once more.

An early morning warning was issued by the Environment Agency as heavy rains continued to fall and a tidal surge in the River Severn.

The surge peaked at around 1pm, threatening some homes and businesses in Hempsted, Longford and Twigworth. Residents elsewhere in Gloucester, Sandhurst, and Maisemore, including Walham were also placed on high alert.

Business manager Malcolm Grey, from Gantry Railings in Sudmeadow Road, said staff were preparing for the worst, but knew there was little they could do if the nearby banks of the Severn burst.

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“Whenever there is heavy rain and a risk of flooding it gets everybody nervous,” he said.

“We had to close the site down for six months in 2007 because of the damage there.

“Everything has been moved off the ground floors and moved up a level as precaution. If the water comes in then we can’t do much about it. There are computers, machinery and paperwork that has all been moved.

“We had a warning from the Environment Agency on Thursday and Friday, but we are keeping a close eye on its website this week.”

Although a drier day is expected today, with more rain forecast through the week a flood risk will remain in place.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We continue to manage the effects of the rain, falling on saturated ground and already high rivers.

“With more heavy showers forecasted over the next couple of days, we are expecting river levels to remain high and there will be a continued risk of flooding into early next week.

“We are reminding home owners at risk of flooding to be prepared to take action if they receive a warning message.

“Drivers are also reminded to check the latest flood updates ahead of their journey, and not to drive through floodwater.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, working alongside partners including the Met Office and local authorities to prepare for possible impacts.

“Our teams are out in force checking that flood defences are in good working order, clearing blockages and monitoring river levels.”

Later in the day emergency services searched a section of the River Severn for almost two hours after a worried member of the public called in after spotting a lone dog walker in trouble near Gloucester Prison.

A call was made at around 4pm that a man had been seen cut off on wasteland between Castlemeads Way and The Quay.

Fears over rising river levels prompted a full response from the police, fire and rescue service and a specialist boat crew. They called off their search when no one could be found.

City councillor Paul Toleman, who lives in Rea Lane in Hempsted, said: “There is a dysfunctional drainage system in Rea Lane and it is not fit for purpose, there is a about 15 inches of water there and towards Middle Rea Farm.

“We get serious problems with the river after periods of heavy rain as there is so much water running off the Welsh hills.

“The flood bank is secure now as the Environment Agency has been out with sand bags.

“There is a lot of holes that could be badger sets where water was running through but they have now been filled in.

Hartpury CofE Primary School delayed the opening of the school yesterday until 10am to allow staff to get to the school safely.

Flood warnings remain in place for parts of Gloucester along the River Severn.

Severn Trent Water workers based in Staverton have been helping people in Gloucester over the last few days as part of their roles volunteering as inshore lifeboat and search and rescue team members for the Severn Area Rescue Association.

Send your pictures of flooding near you to citizen.news@glosmedia.co.uk

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

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