Further damage to Toddbrook Reservoir could see ‘massive flood’

Further damage to a dam which has seen thousands evacuated from their homes over fears it may collapse could lead to "massive flooding", according to an expert.

A wall of a dam at the Toddbrook Reservoir became damaged following flash floods which caused thousands to be evacuated in nearby Whaley Bridge.

An expert from Brunel University in London said the damaged spillway of the dam – designed to release water – could become "fully broken" within hours.

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Water is pumped from the A555 near Kitt's Moss in Bramhall, Cheshire, where a major incident was declared late on Wednesday after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding.
A bike rider comes to a halt as flood water blocks a road on the A555 near Handforth, Cheshire, where a major incident was declared late on Wednesday after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding.
The roof of a submerged car on the A555 near Handforth, Cheshire, where a major incident was declared late on Wednesday after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding.
A sinkhole caused by flooding in the garden belonging to Simon Howcroft in Poynton, Cheshire, where a major incident was declared late on Wednesday after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding.
Martin Ward inspecting flood damage in his house after it was flooded in Cheshire, after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding on Wednesday.
A house is surrounded by flood water in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Hazel Wainwright outside her house after it was flooded in Poynton, Cheshire, after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding on Wednesday.
Workers look at a partially collapsed bridge in Poynton, Cheshire, where flooding has caused a tree from near the bridge to fall into Simon Howcroft's garden (right), after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding on Wednesday.
Warning of more heavy rain after flash flooding and freak hailstorms
Yorkshire pounded by hailstones – and more storms are on the way
Warning of more heavy rain after flash flooding and freak hailstorms
Warning of more heavy rain after flash flooding and freak hailstorms
A man drives along a flooded road in Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Tourists on Westminster Bridge with souvenir umbrellas during rain showers as a month's rainfall was expected in three hours with the risk of flooding in some areas of the United Kingdom. (Photo by Amer Ghazzal / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Soldiers from 2 Yorks arrive in Grinton, North Yorkshire to help out with flood damage, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A car that was push down the road by flood water in Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A man rides a bike through flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
Flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A man drives along a flooded road near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
A man takes a photograph of a collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.
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This could lead to "massive flooding" following the heavy rainfall.

Dr Mohammed Heidarzadeh, assistant professor and head of coastal engineering and resilience LAB, said: "Due to heavy rainfall in Whaley Bridge area, the spillway is now broken and a big chunk of its concrete structure is damaged.

A policeman blocks the road leading to Toddbrook Reservoir
A policeman blocks the road leading to Toddbrook Reservoir (Danny Lawson/PA)

"There is a possibility that the spillway could then become fully broken in a few hours.

"If the spillway is fully gone, the embankment dam will be washed away very rapidly, which could cause a massive flood."

He added that a similar situation occurred at the Orovill dam in California in February 2017.

However, as long as the core of the reservoir is not damaged, the wall "should be okay", according to another specialist.

"Within the last few years new valves have been placed in the dam to expedite rapid drawdown in emergencies: presumably, this is happening now," said Professor Roderick Smith, from Imperial College London.

The former chief scientific adviser for the Department for Transport said the reservoir previously had "issues" with an inadequate valve system which has seen been replaced.

Severe flooding in South Yorkshire in 2007 sparked the evacuation of roughly 700 people around Ulley Reservoir, near Rotherham, over fears its walls could burst due to unprecedented rain and apparent "areas of weakness".

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