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Gloucestershire weather and travel: Heavy winds and rain cause floods and road closures

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 24, 2013

  • Flooding in Westbury today

  • Flooding in Westbury today (photo by Mark Turner)

  • Flooding in Westbury today (photo by Mark Turner)

  • Tree down in Pearwood Way, Tuffley

  • Jovial Colliers Inn at Lydbrook has flooded

  • Tredworth Road bridge, Gloucester

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* Train services returning to normal after earlier delays due to flooding at Lydney but 3.40pm train to Cheltenham and 2.44pm train to London Paddington cancelled

* Warning not to drive through flood waters

* More heavy rain on the way on Friday, but Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be largely dry

Related content

* Flood alerts remain for the county's rivers

Heavy rain and squally winds overnight have brought road closures, flooding and downed trees across the county.

Police and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue received well over 100 weather-related calls last night due to fallen trees, flood water and downed power cables.

The A48 was closed at around midnight last night in Newnham due to flooding beneath the railway bridge.

Georgina Gwilliam was in a car travelling along the A48, leaving Lydney at at 12.30am. She said: "It was pretty terrifying in places to be honest.

"On the bypass just as you come out of Lydney towards Blakeney there was a huge pool of water. There are no street lights there so the car I was in just hit it and aquaplaned. Luckily there was nothing coming the other way otherwise we would have hit it.

"I called the police straight away to warn them about it.

"A couple of the lanes off Blakeney were also completely blocked off by water, it was scary. I have never seen anything like it."

There was also flooding in Lakeside Avenue in Lydney with some residents reporting that water had got in to their homes.

The Dog at Over was also flooded last night with firefighters on the scene pumping the water away from the site.

The Jovial Colliers Inn, at Lydbrook, has had a narrow miss from flooding (see picture gallery above). Owner Tony O'Leary said: "We stayed up all night to keep the drains clear and thankfully it has not got in yet but we are keeping an eye on the weather just in case."

Now, a severe flood warning has been issued for parts of Tewkesbury after the River Severn reaches its peak after heavy rain overnight. Residents near Severn Ham, including Abbey Mill, Upper and Lower Lode and Shakespeare Court have been warned of possible flooding this evening.

Drivers are being urged not to attempt to drive through flood water, especially where there are signs advising against it. Many insurance companies will not pay out for cars damaged in flood water.

The Met Office has predicted more light showers today in Gloucester with temperatures of around 8 C. Tomorrow should be dry with sunny spells, while Thursday is expected to bright all day.

Rain is once again predicted on Friday when there could also be some thunder storms.

Meanwhile, the Furniture Recycling Shop in Gloucester hope to reopen on Saturday after it closed yesterday. High winds threatened to destroy the walk way roof, through to the bus station. As a result, the walkway was closed off, meaning the access to the shop was also cut off.

Gloucestershire County Council’s highways gangs have been taken off normal duties and are ready to respond to any emergency calls. They have been busy throughout the day and night clearing gullies and road debris around the county.

Isolated showers are expected today and Christmas Day, but more heavy rain and strong winds are anticipated for later in the week.

All roads are currently passable with care, but drivers can expect standing water over the festive period. Drivers are being warned to avoid known flooded routes, to allow extra time for their journeys and to avoid travelling in peak periods if possible.

Chief Fire Officer, Jon Hall said: “We can’t stress enough how important it is to avoid floodwater wherever it occurs across the county. There is no way of knowing how deep the flooding is or what lies beneath, so the only advice is to avoid these routes.

“Last night alone, more than 70 calls were received by Gloucestershire fire service, the majority of which were a direct result of the weather conditions. Our teams will continue to respond to any emergency calls and protect properties when possible.”

Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: “These conditions are going to cause disruption when on the roads and travelling to see loved ones, but I would encourage people to remain calm and to take extra care if they are out driving, particularly on higher speed rural roads.

“Since the flooding in 2007, a lot of work has been done to improve our drainage systems; however we still encourage people to think about their journeys before they set off and always avoid driving through floodwater.”

Follow @GlosHighways and @GlosCC on Twitter for updates.

Meanwhile Neil Clarke, customer contact manager for Severn Trent said: “Since the storms yesterday we’ve seen a lot more calls than we would normally see at this time of year. Most of these calls are to get advice on or to report incidents of flooding, which we are monitoring and keeping a close eye on.

“We were aware that this weather was coming and we’ve worked hard to get ready for it. We’ve got extra staff on the phones in our call centre and additional teams available on the ground to deal with flooding issues. We’re also out and about keeping an eye on those areas with a high risk of flooding."

And Neil is offering the following advice for customers who are experiencing flooding: “If you have flooding at your home, check to see if it’s just rainwater or if it’s sewage that has come from an overflowing sewer, possibly through a manhole cover in your garden or outside your property. If it’s just rainwater, the flooding should subside when it stops raining, although it can take up to four hours for water to drain away, so be patient. Where sewage is escaping this is obviously a priority for us, so please call us on 0800 783 4444 and we’ll get a team out to help as quickly as possible.

“If you’re concerned about flooding from drains and gullies in the road, you should call the local council as they are responsible for road drainage, but again, we generally find that the flooding will go away when it stops raining.”

Calls into Severn Trent are high at the moment and customers may have to wait longer than usual for a response, so following the advice above could save you some time. If the flooding is due to rainwater, there is no need to call unless it is still there some time after the rain has stopped.

“We’d like to reassure our customers that we are doing everything that we can do deal with flooding issues as quickly as possible and ask them for their patience during this time. Unfortunately, in stormy weather, the drains and sewers often have significantly more water flowing through them. When the weather has been as dry as it has been for the past few weeks, the rain has a hard time sinking into the hard and compacted soil; so it just runs off the surface and goes directly into drains and sewers,”

added Neil.

More rain is reported today and the Environment Agency warned of flooding around Tewkesbury.

A spokesman said many people were reporting conservatories had been damaged and that winds had pushed carbon monoxide back down chimneys, setting off carbon monoxide alarms.

He said drivers should not drive through flooded areas, particularly where Highways staff had put up warning signs.

Dave Throup, of the Environment Agency, said rain gauges showed it was 'hammering down' in the county.

Others reported felled trees and standing water on county roads.

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