Police fear a woman has died after being swept away by floodwater, as parts of Britain continue to cope with the impact of Storm Dennis.
West Mercia Police said the search for the woman, missing near Tenbury in Worcestershire since Sunday morning, had resumed on Monday.
But Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: “Due to the circumstances of the length of time in the water and other conditions, we believe that this will now be a recovery rather than rescue operation.”
A man recovered from the water in the same incident was airlifted to hospital where he remains in a stable condition, police said.
The update comes as communities count the cost of Storm Dennis, which lashed the country with 90mph winds and drenched some places with more than a month’s worth of rain in 48 hours.
The bodies of two men were pulled from rough seas off Kent on Saturday as the UK was struck by a storm for the second weekend in a row.
In South Wales on Monday, residents were returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage.
Photos of conditions in York showed streets submerged under floodwater.
Over the weekend major incidents due to flooding were declared in South Wales, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Four of the five severe flood warnings from the Environment Agency (EA) in place on Monday were for the River Teme at Eardiston, Little Hereford and Ashford Carbonel, Ludlow and Tenbury Wells and Burford.
An emergency relief centre has been opened in Tenbury High Ormiston Academy for people affected by flooding.
A fifth severe warning, which mean there is a “danger to life”, is in place for the River Wye at Blackmarstone in Hereford.
#StormDennis and the heaviest rain may have passed but this is still a live incident as water makes its way through the bigger rivers. Of most concern now is #Hereford where the river is breaking all records – risk to life so stay close to updates here https://t.co/NppgB4vjQ2pic.twitter.com/0CJOD5xknG
— John Curtin (@johncurtinEA) February 17, 2020
An “emergency evacuation” took place for some streets in Hereford due to flooding and Hereford Football Club opened its doors to people affected by the conditions.
As of 11am on Monday, more than 500 flood alerts and warnings covered much of England, stretching from the North West to the South West.
John Curtin, the EA’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, tweeted that, despite the heaviest rain passing, there is still “a live incident as water makes its way through the bigger rivers”, with Hereford being “of most concern”.
David Throup, EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, tweeted that the River Wye was recorded as its highest ever level in Hereford.
He said floodwater was slowly receding at Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, describing a “horrible sight with many flooded homes and businesses”.
The effect on Hereford and surrounding villages has been “devastating”, one resident said.
Laura Yarwood, a 32-year-old nursery owner from Bodenham, told the PA news agency: “It’s the worst anyone in Hereford has ever seen it to be and the fact that communities are being evacuated, that’s unheard of.”
Aerial pictures of Hereford showed extensive flooding around Thorn Business Park and nearby homes.
The aftermath of Storm Dennis continued to cause transport chaos on Monday morning as railway lines and roads were blocked by flooding.
Network Rail was assessing the repairs needed to reopen parts of the railway.
We are working 24/7 to reduce the risk of flooding and keep communities safe from the impacts of #StormDennis
– 5km of flood barriers deployed– 15,000 homes protected– 90 pumps in action– 1000 EA staff working on the incident
— Environment Agency (@EnvAgency) February 17, 2020
CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Northern, South Western Railway, Southern, Thameslink and Transport for Wales were among the operators with delays and cancellations.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Monday, new Environment Secretary George Eustice said the country was “suffering more and more of these extreme weather events”.
He said one of the worst affected areas was the catchment of the River Severn, with conditions exacerbated by rain falling on ground already saturated by last weekend’s Storm Ciara.
“We have done a lot of work over the last five years to invest in flood defences – some £2.5 billion, 600 projects protecting over 200,000 properties, and there is more work under way with £4 billion committed in the next five years,” he added.