Sunday, November 25, 2012

Britain Under Water – Towns and Fields Submerged After Days of Rain as Deluge and 50mph Gales Are Set to Continue Over the Weekend, Storms Claim First Victim!

November 23, 2012 - BRITAIN - Storms will batter Britain again this weekend after a brief respite from the rain, and floods are set to worsen in the next 24 hours.  The Environment Agency have today reduced the number of flood warnings for England and Wales issued to 49 but this is expected to rise amid fears that heavy rain will trigger further flooding.  It will compound misery for those in areas already suffering from severe floods following the downpours earlier this week, which has forced hundreds to evacuate their homes and killed a motorist in Chew Stoke, near Bristol.  

Surface water flooding and river flooding has affected the south west, central and north west of England and Wales.  The Environment Agency (EA) has 52 flood warnings and 159 less serious flood alerts in place as England, Wales and Scotland braces itself for one inch of rain and gusts of up to 60mph.  The EA was able to reduce the number of flood warnings from more than 90 yesterday, but this is expected to increase as more downpours threaten to add to already swollen rivers.  The rains could also trigger further landslips on waterlogged hillsides. Residents of a Georgian terrace in Bath had a lucky escape when boulders, including one more than 7ft in diameter, crashed onto a road behind their homes.  Nearly 300 properties have already flooded across the UK since Tuesday, the EA said, and on Thursday night a man died when he became trapped in his 4x4 after it became wedged under a bridge in Chew Stoke, Somerset.  The elderly man was rescued from the water but died from a suspected cardiac arrest on his way to hospital.  Duncan Massey, of Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue, said: ‘The water was like a raging torrent.  ‘It was nearly impossible to get in the water, it was very, very deep, very swift-flowing and dark.’  Locals said the conditions were the worst seen for 30 years and that water levels near the ford had risen dramatically in only 20 minutes. A 26-year-old man died earlier on Thursday in a crash in stormy conditions on the A3079 at Beaworthy, Devon. And police were searching for a 91-year-old man feared to have fallen into the Thames in Sonning, Berkshire.  Franciscus Van De Gender went missing on Thursday morning and his car was later found on the riverbank. High winds brought down power lines in the South West and Wales, many roads were left impassable and train services were delayed or cancelled, including services between London and the West Country.   

Parts of Britain were hit by five inches of rain on Thursday and high winds of 86mph were recorded in Wales.  The AA said the last few days had been some of its busiest for flood-related call-outs.  Those injured in weather-related incidents included an elderly pedestrian whose head was cut after being struck by a tree, two teenage girls taken to hospital with head and shoulder injuries, and a female driver in her 50s who escaped with minor injuries after her car was crushed by a falling tree trunk.  Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said yesterday: 'With more heavy rain forecast across the Midlands, Wales and the South West, road conditions in the affected areas are likely to only get worse as the ground is so saturated.  'Even if you think you know your local roads, don't be complacent, as flash-flooding continues to be a real risk and is catching people out.'  Meanwhile, Network Rail said trains were likely to be suspended between Exeter and Bristol until Monday.  A spokesman for the MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: 'There will be substantial rainfall over the next 24 hours into Sunday morning for most of the UK.  'More than one inch of rain will fall in some areas which will not be welcome given the recent flooding. It will be quite disruptive.  'Winds will be strong throughout the day but particularly overnight reaching peaks of up to 60mph on the south coast.'  He added that the rain and winds will begin in the south of England and Wales before pushing north throughout the day and overnight.  Bright skies will follow on Sunday afternoon, but they will soon be eclipsed by more showers and cold temperatures in the early part of next week.  MeteoGroup forecaster Chris Burton also said gusts on the south coast early on Sunday could reach 70mph.’  In Cornwall, a primate from the Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary near Looe in Cornwall had to be taken to the vet after it became seriously ill during the atrocious weather.  Pepper, a one-year-old monkey, had to be resuscitated after suffering from a mystery illness yesterday. It was the latest setback at the tourist attraction, which also suffered serious flood damage on Thursday.  Tree surgeons were also called in to fell three trees which had been badly damaged during gusting winds on the south Cornish coastline.   

At one point, staff had to move some barbary macaques from one enclosure to another over concerns one of the trees would fall directly on top of it.  Staff at the registered charity are still assessing the total cost of the destruction, but say it has ended a financially difficult year.  Hayley Dann, fundraising manager, said: 'What with the bad summer we and most of the Cornish attractions have had, we reckon we are about £60,000 down on last year.'  The charity is holding an open day on December 9, providing it can complete the clear-up operation which saw floodwater wreck their education zone and primate library on Thursday.  The stormy conditions have also put paid to some small-boat fishermen earning a living this weekend. High winds in and around Mevagissey harbour in Cornwall have resulted in very few fishermen venturing out to sea from the port during recent days.  A landslip yesterday morning also left the harbour car park partially closed, affecting operations at the port. However, work to clear the 25 cubic metres of soil has been completed and the harbour is ready to operate as normal.  Harbour master Hugh Bowles said: 'It has been fairly rough at sea this morning due to the on-shore winds, and it was the same on Thursday, too.  'It is stopping people from going out to see. Nobody will be out there from Mevagissey today, and the forecast is gales to severe gales, so I don't expect that to change.  'Obviously fishing is completely weather dependent, so it really does have an impact on fishermen wanting to get out on the water, particularly those with smaller, under-10m boats.'  Other rescue operations include an RAF Sea King helicopter, which freed a driver trapped in her car after it was swept into a river at St Clears, South West Wales, the evacuation of a hospice in Ulverston, Cumbria, after bedrooms were flooded when a stream burst its banks, and 10 pensioners were evacuated from their homes in Exeter after a 30ft wall collapsed.  Meanwhile, a canoeist who sparked a £10,000 rescue operation after paddling out to sea in gale force winds was criticised by rescuers.  Forecasters say winds this weekend will reach up to 100mph with as much as 40mm of rain, bringing further risks of flooding.  Gales are expected to continue for a time early Sunday, with bright spells developing and winds easing off later in the day.  Further rain is anticipated for Monday, while the Met Office says snow could hit the North on Tuesday as a new cold front moves in.  Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers said: 'We urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings this weekend and to be prepared for what the weather brings. - Daily Mail.   

WATCH: Britain's storms claimed their first victim last night as a man died after being trapped in his car by flood water and heavy rain   The victim, was caught in Chew Stoke in Somerset as flood waters wedged his car under a bridge near a ford.  

WATCH: Heavy flooding on roads in Somerset (Rockwell Green, 50 miles from Chew Stoke)


Original post @