Flood warnings span England stretch of the River Severn

The river Severn rising in WorcesterImage copyright PA Media/Dave Harford
Image caption A flood gate in Worcester has been closed for the first time since 2014

The entire English stretch of the River Severn has been covered by flood warnings as water levels continue to rise following recent downpours.

The Environment Agency said it was “very unusual” for warnings to cover such a long stretch of the river.

The warnings affect Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

A flood gate on a main commuter route in Worcester, Hylton Road, was closed for the first time since 2014, meaning the street has been shut.

Road closures were in place in the region following nearly a month’s worth of rain in little over 24 hours.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Hylton Road in Worcester, one of the city’s main streets, was forced to close due to flooding

The Herefordshire tributary River Wye, which was at its highest level since 1998, has started to recede after rising 5m above its usual level on Sunday, leading to evacuations and flooded homes.

River levels peaked in parts of Shropshire, including Ironbridge and Buildwas, overnight but are expected to stay high for a few days.

flood warnings span england stretch of the river severn 1 - Flood warnings span England stretch of the River Severn

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Media captionFlood warnings span England stretch of the River Severn

Other areas including Worcester are projected to peak on Tuesday night. River levels are expected to remain high in the city and downstream for the next two to three days.

The Environment Agency said more than 1,000 homes and businesses had been protected by the Severn flood barriers.

Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption An Environment Agency representative said he had “never seen” flood warnings along the Severn like this
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Chris Bainger said more rain later in the week may cause further problems in the Midlands

Donna Byard runs an antique shop in Ironbridge and had to turn away customers on Monday due to the rising waters.

“We’ve not had it this high for many years,” she said, adding it was the first time she had been forced to use her flood barrier which she noticed “breaching underneath slightly”.

In a caravan park in Bridgnorth, Maureen Burnell told the BBC her home was suddenly surrounded by water.

She said there had been no sign of flooding at about 21:00 GMT on Monday but a few hours later “and suddenly this water is rushing like mad past our window”.

Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption Donna Byard feared her shop was at risk when water levels rose in Ironbridge
Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption River levels in Shrewsbury peaked overnight
Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption A flood gate on Hylton Road, Worcester, was put up and the Environment Agency said it would remove it as soon as the water peak had passed through the city

The Environment Agency’s Chris Bainger said holidaymakers enjoying their half-term break were a particular concern as they were unlikely to have a flood plan.

“That’s caught some people out,” he said, adding that people letting holiday accommodation should consider leaving tourists information for what to do.

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