Communities feel impact of wet autumn as flooding disruption continues
More than 100 flood warnings are in place as communities continue to come to terms with the impact of November’s wet weather.
Experts have said some places in the UK are already close to having their wettest autumn on record following the latest downpour on Thursday night.
Flooded roads and travel disruption have resulted, with 107 flood warnings in place across much of England and parts of Wales on Friday.
John Curtin, executive director of flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency (EA), said between 25 and 30 properties near the River Avon at Evesham, Worcestershire, have been flooded.
Describing the area as the latest flooding “live hot spot”, he said the river is currently at four metres, amid fears that the water has the potential to impact upon Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
Images of Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford showed the historic site surrounded by water following the downpour.
Warwickshire Police tweeted out footage of flood barriers being erected along Waterside in the town on Friday in a bid to protect the area.
Mr Curtin told reporters: “The rain last night went through some of the smaller villages in Warwickshire and the rain is moving down towards Evesham as we speak.”
The Doncaster villages of Fishlake and Stainforth in South Yorkshire have been two of the worst affected by November’s deluge, but Mr Curtin warned that areas across the UK are “super sensitive” to rain.
He said: “A number of our frontline teams are now rostered all the way through Christmas already.
“We don’t want people to think it happened to Fishlake, it won’t happen to me. Today it is Evesham, tomorrow where next?”
He added that 900 properties have been flooded in the autumn floods but 21,000 have been protected.
In Gloucester, one of the areas hit by heavy rainfall, video emerged of a bus attempting to make its way through a flooded road, with water entering the vehicle as it passed through.
Meanwhile, images released by Derbyshire Police’s drone unit showed waterlogged fields around the village of Ambaston.
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued 97 people and a dog in 43 different incidents where vehicles had become stuck in water in the past 24 hours.
The wet weather also caused disruption to some rail services between Sheffield and Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Goole, and Nottingham and Derby.
Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said: “Some places are close to having their wettest autumn on record and we have two more weeks of November to go.”
But he added that the forecast is hopeful for the affected areas, with upcoming rain “not expected to be heavy or persistent” in the flooded parts of the country.
Deluged communities in Doncaster are still feeling the effects of this month’s deluge, with the EA explaining how machines have been pumping water out of Fishlake.
Army soldiers had been working since Wednesday to lay down sandbags and firm up flood defences in the area and in neighbouring Stainforth, but have since been removed.
Mr Curtin said 38 pumps have been used in Fishlake, adding that all houses in the village should be free of water by Sunday.
Doncaster Council said 970 homes and businesses in the town had been affected since the rain started on November 7.
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose response to the floods has been criticised by some of those affected, announced that the worst-impacted households and businesses would be eligible for immediate relief on their council tax and business rates.
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon told the PA news agency that the wet weather is expected to ease across the country over the weekend, despite the potential for showers.
He said: “In a nutshell, not fantastic, bright blue skies for the weekend, but in terms of rainfall it will be a much better picture.
“There will be a few showers knocking around, but nothing in terms of accumulations of rainfall like we’ve seen over the last week.”