Rescues and evacuations after widespread flooding – as party boat sinks in Thames

UK

A major incident has been declared after Nottinghamshire was hit by widespread flooding – as the south of England faces another deluge of rain.

Nottinghamshire County Council said the incident was declared “due to rising levels along the River Trent” and that residents who live in flood risk areas should be prepared to evacuate their homes.

The council added that the latest forecasts were showing that peaks along the River Trent could “come close to the highest levels on record from the year 2000”.

Floodwater surrounds houses in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire
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Floodwater surrounds houses in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire

Meanwhile, the Met Office’s yellow weather warning for rain across the south of England has been in place from 12pm today, lasting until 3am on Friday.

All rail services are warning passengers of delays and cancellations due to the severe conditions.

Rainfall is expected to travel in a northeast direction across the south of England, with the potential for communities to be cut off by flooding.

The Met Office said: “The track of the heaviest rainfall remains very uncertain, but there is a chance of 20 to 30 millimetres falling in six to nine hours across a portion of the warning area, with a few places perhaps seeing 40 to 50 millimetres.”

The yellow weather warning comes after Storm Henk battered the UK with strong winds and rain, leaving the ground saturated and more prone to flooding in some areas, according to forecasters.

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• People stranded in their homes in Shrewsbury
• Met Office warns of ‘tricky rush hour’ due to rain on Thursday night

Follow live: Flooding across England as county declares major incident

A view of Worcester city centre flooded by the River Severn, following heavy rainfall. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning from 12pm on Thursday with rainfall expected to travel in a north-east direction across the south of England, lasting until 3am on Friday. Picture date: Thursday January 4, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story WEATHER Rain. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire....A drone view of Worcestershire Cricket Ground flooded by the River Severn..Thursday January 4th 2024. PA Photo : David Davies.
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A view of Worcester city centre flooded by the River Severn

Urging people to be prepared to evacuate due to the flooding, Nottinghamshire County Council said in its statement: “Key tributaries which feed in to the River Trent, including the River Derwent, the River Soar and the River Dove, have already reached their peaks and high water levels will now pass down the Trent, which is likely to lead to the flooding to properties and roads.

“Residents who live in the flood risk areas are being asked to ensure they have preparations in place in case they are asked to evacuate. Councils, emergency services and the Environment Agency have been providing emergency support to communities impacted and will continue to provide support across the county.”

It comes as a man stranded on his shed roof by floodwater in Nottinghamshire was rescued by a fire crew who used a boat to bring him safely to land.

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Man rescued from shed roof in Nottinghamshire

A view of flooding around the River Arun in Pulborough, West Sussex. The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning from 12pm on Thursday with rainfall expected to travel in a north-east direction across the south of England, lasting until 3am on Friday. Picture date: Thursday January 4, 2024.
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A view of flooding around the River Arun in Pulborough, West Sussex

‘Outside their front doors it’s like a river’

Meanwhile, several residents of Radcliffe Residential Park, an estate of static caravans for the over-55s just to the east of Nottingham in the East Midlands, had to be evacuated due to high water levels.

Laurie Walker, chairman of Radcliffe Park Residents’ Association, said: “I’ve had someone knock on my door to say the water is going to rise another 25cm. Outside their front doors, it’s like a river, I don’t know if the homes have been flooded.

“To come out of the park I’ve had to walk through somebody else’s garden to avoid the flood on the road. It’s the worst it’s ever been, I’ve been here seven years. It’s a mess.”

A residential street is flooded in Loughborough, Leicestershire after rain and strong winds from Storm Henk lashed large parts of the UK. Picture date: Wednesday January 3, 2024.
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A flooded residential street in Loughborough, Leicestershire

A flooded house in Loughborough, Leicestershire after rain and strong winds from Storm Henk lashed large parts of the UK. Picture date: Wednesday January 3, 2024.
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A flooded house in Loughborough, Leicestershire

Pub landlord in tears after business floods

Parts of Worcestershire, the West Midlands, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and West Sussex have also been flooded.

Mario Thomas, 65, landlord of The Boat Inn in Jackfield, Shropshire, has said he broke down in tears after “evil” floodwaters devastated his pub.

He said the water was up to his chest when he entered the pub close to the River Severn.

Photo courtesy of Liam Ball of the Boat Inn pub in Shropshire, surrounded by floodwater.
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The Boat Inn which flooded in Shropshire

The Boat Inn is surrounded from flood water from the River Severn after heavy rain from Storm Henk, Ironbridge, Britain, January 4, 2024. REUTERS/Carl Recine

Police refers itself to watchdog after woman’s death

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over the death of an 87-year-old woman in Oxfordshire who crashed into a tree.

The force said it received a report about the tree around 90 minutes before the collision.

Eyewitness: Fears for vulnerable people as flooding hits market town


Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

West of England and Wales correspondent

@danwnews

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire is no stranger to floods – especially the residents of Abbey Terrace.

Properties all have pumps in their cellars and floodgates in their gardens.

But as firefighters evacuated vulnerable people from their homes, locals on the road told Sky News this is the worst they’ve seen it since 2007.

The Veal family were loading up possessions into a kayak.

Simon, a father, said: “We’re going to evacuate. The ground floor is no longer tenable. The sewerage system doesn’t work, it won’t be long before the water is polluted as well, the power will go out.

“The floors will have to come out. The plaster up to a metre will come off the walls, damaged furniture, the fridge, freezer, cooker, washing machine, tumble dryer. It’s everything.”

John and his wife Marion were being evacuated in a boat by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

“It’s worse than 2007,” John told me. “That was in the middle of summer, it was not as cold. That’ll be a problem for vulnerable people.”

Tewkesbury Abbey is surrounded by flood water after heavy rain from Storm Henk, Tewkesbury, Britain, January 3, 2024. REUTERS/Carl Recine
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Tewkesbury Abbey is surrounded by floodwater after heavy rain from Storm Henk,

Rail disruption

Great Western Railway (GWR) advised travellers against starting their journeys by rail on Thursday afternoon because of “heavy rainfall forecast on already flooded ground”.

The train operator said its direct route between Swindon and Bristol Parkway remained closed because of flooding on tracks due to Storm Henk earlier in the week.

GWR said that Network Rail had identified “key sites in Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall as being at risk of flooding” from about 3pm on Thursday, adding that “trains may not be able to operate through these areas”.

It added that these “most at risk” locations included sites between Swindon and Bristol Temple Meads via Chippenham and Bath Spa, Newton Abbot and Plymouth, Exeter and Tiverton Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and Weston-super-Mare, and Taunton and Westbury.

It comes as South Western Railway (SWR) said “extreme rainfall” forecast in the south of England meant that customers should expect “severe disruption on the south coast, south of Guildford and west of Basingstoke” from 1pm to 7pm on Thursday.

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