Published On: Wed, Feb 12th, 2014

UK floods: More Flooding Fears As Storms Forecast

Parts of the UK are again facing flooding as forecasters warn a further band of stormy weather later could mean the “strongest” winds of the winter.Winds of up to 100 mph are expected around the coast of Wales.More flooding fears

Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey while two remain in Somerset.

The transport secretary said the PM’s pledge that money was “no object” in the relief effort did not amount to a “blank cheque” for tackling floods.

Troops pledged

The Met Office has issued an amber “be prepared” warning of wind on Wednesday as well as yellow “be aware” snow, wind and rain warnings.

The warning for snow covers northern and western parts of the UK – but not the South West – mostly until mid-morning Wednesday.

Other updates include:

  • There are still major disruptions for several rail services, with passengers advised not to travel. There remain severe delays between Reading and London after water leaked into signalling and electronic devices on the line at Maidenhead
  • BBC forecasters say a month’s worth of rainfall is expected to fall in parts of southern England over the next few days
  • The River Severn in Worcester is currently still rising and the Environment Agency said there was “no end in sight”. New flood defences installed along the river following a previous flood in 2007 are saving 1,300 homes from the deluge, it says
  • The Environment Agency warns more homes will be flooded as rivers in Herefordshire and Worcestershire continue rising over the next few days
  • The Met Office has warned of Hurricane Force 12 winds in the sea areas of Lundy, Fastnet and Irish Sea
  • Ch Supt Matt Twist told the BBC there were “100 more homes evacuated overnight” in Surrey and there were “massive resources” on the ground including 250 soldiers and 30,000 sandbags had been distributed across the county. Four schools have been closed
  • A severe flood warning remains in force on the River Thames and levels will remain very high over the coming days. Water levels are currently higher than those experienced in 2003

Managing director of network operations at Network Rail, Robin Gisby, said it was going to be “another difficult day for commuters”, and he described the landscape across southern England and the South West as an “inland sea”.

He said the high winds forecast meant that trains would be running at reduced speeds in Cornwall, Devon, parts of Wales, and in the Preston area of Lancashire.

And Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the BBC said there were “very big problems for us to face”.

He said that in the next five years starting in April £38bn would be spent on improving the rail network.

“We will make sure that when we do the repairs, we do them to a resilience that will last for future storms that come along,” he said.

On Tuesday, PM David Cameron said money was “no object in this relief effort” but warned: “Things could get worse before they get better.”

He announced measures including getting insurance companies into affected areas so “people can make their claims quickly” and grants to help homeowners build better flood defences and repair properties.

He would chair a new cabinet committee on Thursday to deal with the recovery, he announced.

And he pledged that 1,600 troops – later corrected to 600 by Downing Street – would be deployed by the end of Tuesday.

“Thousands more” would be available for tasks including filling and moving sandbags and helping the sick and the vulnerable.

The BBC’s Ben Geoghegan, in Wraysbury, Berkshire, overnight, said the local primary school had been turned into “24/7 control centre” for residents affected by flooding.

Lucy Foster, who has been helping to run the operation, said the village had been “looking after itself for a long, long time and morale was getting very low, energy levels were getting low”.

“Finally we’ve got the boys and girls that we need – we’ve got the Army, the police force, the fire service and getting a lot of support from them and a lot of direction from them, which is what was needed.”

Our correspondent said that, with so many homes in the village evacuated, there was a real fear some of the empty properties might be looted so the Army had set up checkpoints on some roads to monitor overnight who comes and who goes.

‘Unprecedented’ flooding

More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated along the Thames after towns and villages including Wraysbury, Chertsey and Datchet were flooded.

In Datchet, more than 1,700 properties were hit by a power cut on Tuesday evening. Scottish and Southern Energy said power had been restored to all residents by 00:30 GMT although a separate problem meant about 25 properties had temporarily lost power in the early hours.

Chief Supt Matt Twist, of Surrey Police, said the flooding in the county was “unprecedented” and warned that a further 2,500 homes were at risk.

Further evacuations have been taking place in the Staines and Egham area. Almost 6,000 properties have been flooded altogether in the past two months.

About 100 properties remain flooded on the Somerset Levels, where extra pumps are being brought in from the Netherlands, and groundwater flooding is also expected in the coming days in Hampshire, Kent and parts of London.

As well as 16 severe flood warnings, the Environment Agency has also issued about 350 less serious flood warnings and alerts, mostly in southern England and the Midlands.

The agency said it looked “increasingly likely” there would be problems along the River Severn and River Wye.

And it said groundwater levels were so high in some parts of the country that flooding was likely to persist for weeks or even months flooding was likely to persist for weeks or even months.