As it happened: Disruption as flood fears spread

Key Points

  • More areas of Britain are facing floods and travel disruption after heavy rain caused chaos in the south-west.
  • County Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire and the Conwy area of north Wales are among areas expected to be worst affected.
  • There are some 200 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts in England and Wales, and two flood alerts in Scotland.
  • Talks about flood insurance are at "crisis point" and could leave 200,000 homes without cover, says an insurers' body.

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    The scene in Somerset Hay bales surrounded by flood water in a field near Glastonbury, Somerset

    Tennis star Andy Murray's mother, Judy, tweets: "Edinbru-Plymouth train. Guard just said 'at this moment we do not no the final destination of this train'. Magical mystery tour, then?"


    BBC Travel News reports disruption to Southern trains between London Victoria and Holmwood in Surrey.

    This was apparently due to a landslip between Dorking and Holmwood.


    @Katytmc tweets: "Huntingdon is cut off by #floods. Just took my colleague an hour to get to work when it normally takes 5 minutes driving."


    The RSPCA tweeted: "RSPCA has logged 485 incidents concerning animals in #floods from 22-25th November. Please be #floodaware & follow @EnvAgency advice."


    Some residents in villages in the Tewkesbury area of Gloucestershire cut off by flood water have had to decide whether to be rescued or not.

    Deputy chief fire officer Geoff Sallis, from the county's fire and rescue service, said people had been given the option of being brought "into safer areas" but most were choosing to stay at home.


    Chris Fawkes from the BBC Weather Centre says there has been about 60 mm (2.5 in) of rain in south-west England over the weekend.

    He added: "A weather front will slowly move across north England and north Wales on Monday, and it's here that we are likely to see some further serious flooding."


    A number of roads in County Durham and Teesside remain shut and Bishopton Redmarshall Primary School, near Stockton, has been closed after access roads became impassable.


    Homes in Sturminster Marshall, in Dorset, were protected by a flood barrier around the village.

    Resident Holly White said: "The road has turned to a river and the village green is a lake.

    "Our main concern would be if the flood barrier doesn't hold - we don't need any more rain."


    The Environment Agency has downgraded warnings for the River Isle from Chard Reservoir to Hambridge in Somerset, Winford Brook at Chew Magna and River Chew from Chew Stoke to Keynsham.

    Jim Florey from the agency said said rivers were now beginning to recede.

    1010: Breaking News

    The Environment Agency tweeted: "More heavy #rain forecast for overnight and tomorrow. See our three day flood forecast and be #floodaware."


    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to arrive in Devon shortly to tour flood-hit areas of the county.


    Ian Bradshaw tweeted: "Travelling down on the westcoast #virgin train, 100s acres of farmland now under water #flood."

    1026: Tom Blenkinsop, MP, Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland

    tweets: Very bad flooding on roads all over East Cleveland, and between Guisborough and Middlesbrough. Keep safe if you're travelling

    Photo: Tesni Hill

    Tesni Hill took this shot of a trapped bus in Church Laneham, Nottinghamshire.

    David Dunn helps man out of flooded car David Dunn pictured rescuing a man from a car which was trapped by floodwater near Keynsham in Somerset
    1037: Aimee, Evesham, UK

    emails: Evesham is really bad the river Avon has flooded waterside!

    1038: Megan, Malmesbury, UK

    emails: Down the bottom of the High Street is terribly flooded. One of my friends houses is a foot deep in water!


    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has arrived in Exeter and is inspecting water levels on the River Exe.


    Flood barriers have gone up in Shrewsbury where flood warnings are in place for the River Severn.

    The warnings are in place for the Showground and The Quarry which are considered at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency said.

    1054: CharlotteReevo

    tweets On the way to Nottingham. Very confused by fields that have now become lakes

    1055: Jonathan Ellis

    tweets Interesting journey this morning. Floods everywhere, roads closed, drove through water up to bumper, which was a bit worrying! #ukfloods


    Mary Dhonau, who chairs the Flood Protection Association, told the Today programme about flooding victims: "The average person is out of their home for about nine months and I think people tend to think when they see the photos on the news that they're going to be back in a matter of weeks but sadly the drying process takes a long time."


    For updates on the travel and weather situation in your area find all the relevant Twitter feeds in one place. on this bespoke BBC twitter list

    1107: Sarah Myles in the north of England

    tweets: It took my husband almost 4 hours to do his 50 minute trip to work this morning. #Floods

    1109: Scott Baistow

    tweets: Still on way to newcastle now at Middlesbrough from skipton which has now taken 4hrs could have been in london in this time


    The National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, Staffordshire, has been forced to close due to flooded roads in the area. It is home to the National Armed Forces Memorial.

    1113: Kim Davies from Worcestershire

    tweets: Listening to news helicopter doing it's thing overhead while i worry about how to collect school bus. schools open but roads shut. #floods


    Horse racing: Wednesday's meeting at Fontwell Park in West Sussex has been called off as the track is completely waterlogged.

    1121: National Rail

    tweets: NEW: Delays between Darlington and York until further notice. Flooding is causing disruption at ... #fb

    1122: Met Office

    tweets: Yellow Warning of Rain for SW Scotland, Lothian Borders : East Lothian & Scottish Borders valid from 1100 Mon 26...

    1125: Brian Wyllie

    writes on the BBC News Facebook page: The govt should return to proper river management so that the rivers capacity is returned to the volumes of years ago then they wouldn't overflow! Its as simple as that to resolve the majority of flooding. You don't need high tech flood barriers etc. Dredge the rivers!

    The scene in Tewkesbury on Monday A cyclist gives up and walks through flooded Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire

    Two high-volume pumps have been deployed to the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, to divert floodwater away from the premises. Fire crews have also closed the road and are waiting for the police.


    In Wales flooding is affecting road and rail travel and the emergency services have warned motorists and residents to heed weather warnings. Roads affected include the A48 in Port Talbot and the A5 near Corwen.


    Kennford, near Exeter, was one of the worst affected areas in Devon, with about 30 properties flooded. "We can't get any insurance because the Environment Agency has marked it down as a flood plain," says resident Les Seaton.

    1150: Jon Kay, BBC News correspondent
    Photo: Jon Kay

    tweets: So many homes here in Kennford #Devon have been flooded. Personal possessions are piled up to be taken away.


    Insurance companies are warning that a lack of progress in talks with the government could leave 200,000 homes without cover against flood damage.


    What protection is your insurance policy likely to offer if you are affected by the wet weather? Find answers in our Q&A on flooding insurance.

    1203: Caroline Ponting in North Yorkshire

    emails: Hunton in North Yorkshire is cut off due to flooding to all roads in and out. Here in Bedale, it's OK but there may be possible flooding in Morton-on-Swale and surrounding areas.

    Owen Paterson

    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, in Exeter, says: "I offer my deepest sympathies to the 450 households across the South West who have suffered flooding. It's very frightening for young people, very difficult for elderly people and very disruptive to business."


    The prime minister's official spokesman says the government met the Association of British Insurers (ABI) last week to discuss flood insurance. "We put a proposal to the ABI and the ABI are considering that proposal," he says.


    BBC weather forecaster Philip Avery offers "a quick bit of context". He points out that the flooding "comes off the back, for England and Wales, of one of the wettest summers that we have seen this century, and we started the year in a drought - it's been an extraordinary year".

    1224: Alex Marsh, Nottingham, UK

    emails: Driving to work this morning down the A453 past Ratcliffe on Soar, I've never seen so much water in the fields. All the way along either side of the road was flooded and the Soar well over and above its usual levels.

    The scene at Pershore Bridge

    A couple whose house in Worcestershire has been flooded are urging motorists to avoid this road in Pershore. They have been frantically bailing out water in their garden, but when vehicles drive through they are sending huge waves of water into their property.


    Phil Younge, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, says: "We are expecting more rain throughout Monday, and are urging people to remain vigilant, and check their risk of flooding. We are continuing to deploy teams across the country to warn communities at risk."

    1244: Nick, Yorkshire, UK

    texts: Farmers have got to take their share of blame. Grubbing up of hedges, inappropriate cropping regimes near rivers etc. have all contributed. We need to return to flood meadows and traditional water management.


    Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh calls for a "full investigation" into why some flood defences have failed. She questions what happens after the "emergency phase" and urges the government to "get a grip" to ensure that people don't end up in homes that they are "unable to insure, unable to mortgage and then, eventually, unable to sell".

    Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh

    Ms Creagh, the Labour MP for Wakefield, says: "The government has cut spending on flood defences by a third and that has meant that the insurance industry is saying 'the government isn't taking it seriously, we are no longer able to provide flood insurance as a universal cover'."


    For those of you who are just joining us, these are the latest developments:

    • There are about 200 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts in England and Wales
    • More than 800 homes were flooded over the weekend, mainly in south-west England
    • Insurance companies say talks with the government about flood cover are at "crisis point", and could leave 200,000 homes uninsured next year - but the government says discussions are ongoing

    The latest forecast from BBC Weather says: "Rain is already falling across the north of England, will set into north Wales this afternoon, and then persist across both regions through this evening and into tonight."

    1310: Derek Crabb, The Wirral, UK

    emails: No future planning permission should be granted in high risk flood areas. In recent years councils have granted planning permission for new homes below sea level & the water line, this is irresponsible. Councils and the local community should work together to solve existing flood problems and create a cohesive long term plan, including relocation if necessary.

    A bus trapped in flood water in Nottinghamshire

    BBC News website readers all over the country have been sending in their pictures of flooding. Send your photos to For conditions visit


    In Worcestershire, homes have been evacuated and businesses closed after heavy rain.

    1323: Wally Sawyer

    writes on the BBC News Facebook page: back in the 50s, 60s and 70s the local councils used to come around and unblock drains 2 or 3 times a year and suck out the dead leaves, old crisp & sweet papers etc. Also the rivers and drainage channels were dredged of silt and rubbish. I don't remember significant flooding back then but we did have plenty of rain!

    Scene on the A690

    Vehicles seen here are making their way along the A690 near the village of East Rainton, in County Durham. Drivers have been urged not to drive through flooded areas.

    1332: Mark Taylor in Newcastle upon Tyne

    emails: I just had word that the roads around the demolished flats in Newburn, Newcastle have been closed again due to the rain, and that the roads are not expected to be reopened today. Again Newburn is all but cut off from the rest of the city.


    Environment minister Richard Benyon is expected to a statement in the Commons this afternoon about the flooding. On Sunday he said he had been "impressed with how the emergency services and Environment Agency have responded" to the situation.

    1343: Gloucestershire Police

    tweets: If you are driving a 4x4 vehicle the road closures still apply to you. Properties are being flooded by waves caused by selfish drivers.

    The scene in Malmesbury

    Firefighters are helping with the mopping up process in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. It comes after there was waist-deep water in some areas, while roads in and out of the town were closed. The mayor of Malmesbury said it was the worst flooding he had seen in the of the town centre for decades.


    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) is urging people to look out for animals in the bad weather. "Keep an eye out for strays. Take unidentified animals indoors until you can find their guardians or get them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide food and water and call the RSPCA for assistance," it says.

    1359: Brian Wheeler, BBC News political reporter

    I've been sat on a stationary East Coast train somewhere between Retford and Doncaster for the past 20 minutes due to severe flooding at a bridge between Doncaster and York causing congestion on the line. "It's very deep flooding. There are divers involved," says the guard cheerfully as he hands out delay complaint forms. Of all the days to attempt to cover three by-elections in one day! I got Croydon North in the bag early but Rotherham is looking a bit dodgy. And I can forget all about Middlesbrough I fear...

    The River Severn in Worcester, with the bund on the right

    BBC News correspondent Ben Ando, standing on the Sabrina Bridge in Worcester, tells the BBC News Channel: "This raised area here that you can see in front of me is a bund that was put in after 2007 in an effort to stop the area on the right, the road that goes alongside the river, from flooding. Locals say that is because the bund doesn't go down deep enough to the bedrock and so therefore the water can come through."

    1406: Arthur in York

    texts: Previous governments and councils must take some responsibility for increased flooding in homes and businesses. Relaxation of planning restrictions which allowed premises to be built below the designated flood plain has caused chaos.

    1415: Danny Savage North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    says all operations at Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, have been cancelled for today.

    He said: "It is a big job here for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue as they try to keep the water out of the hospital.

    "It's an operation that's working at the moment but they will have to stay at it for quite a while longer if they are going to succeed in the long run as rain is still falling and river levels are rising."

    1419: Dave Mitchell, Bude, Devon

    texts: We've continued to waterproof the landscape, build on flood plains and water meadows. We divert water into rivers etc. that cannot possibly cope with the volumes of water. We waste millions of pounds on short term answers that a few years down the line are being overwhelmed and we wonder why !!! Every year we get the same cycle of flooding and its on the increase. What do we really expect? It's madness and common sense does not exist in this land any longer. When will we see common sense again?

    The scene in Wetherby

    Officials will inspect the track at Wetherby racecourse in North Yorkshire later before deciding if Wednesday's meeting can go ahead.


    Keep abreast of the latest areas which have flood warnings and flood alerts in place by visiting the Environment Agency website.


    And the Met Office is providing up-to-date details of weather warnings on its website.


    The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has challenged the government's account of discussions about flood insurance.

    An ABI spokesman said: "There was a ministerial meeting last week to consider the impasse around the industry's plan but no new proposal was tabled."

    1424: James Baggaley

    tweets: Stuck on a train just south of Doncaster, apparently line completely flooded between Doncaster and York

    1425: Brian Wheeler, BBC News political reporter

    We're on the move. But there are buses from Doncaster for those travelling to York. "The water is over six feet deep," says the guard. It's a "red alert" situation apparently. Much frustrated muttering and rearranging of business meetings among the passengers. The weird thing is, it's not actually raining that heavily here.

    The River Wear in County Durham, flows past properties after bursting its banks following heavy rain.

    The River Wear in County Durham, is now flowing past properties after bursting its banks following heavy rain. Heavy overnight rain caused river levels to rise, triggering a number of flood alerts in the region.

    1427: Abigail Whitmarsh, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

    emails: Before we moved to our house, our village had never flooded in its history. In the last eight years we have now had 4 serious floods. I sit here now awaiting the 5th, the second this year. If new houses hadn't been built on all our green belt land and flood plains and the country not covered in concrete trying to solve the housing shortage, water could drain away. Lack of money is the reason rivers aren't dredged and drains unblocked.


    The Kings Arms pub in the centre of York is under a metre of water. The pub famously displays a wall chart in the bar to show how submerged it has been by previous floods.

    1432: Kathy in Wrexham, North Wales

    emails in reply to Nick in Yorkshire's text at 12:44: Sadly, if you look around the country, you will see that a lot of farmers' land is under water. The knock-on effect of this for next year will be higher prices in the supermarkets yet again due to a lot of crops washed away or damaged by floods. Years ago, rivers used to be dredged but this seems to have stopped in order to preserve wildlife, plants etc.

    1433: Nicky, Glasgow

    texts: Why don't the government dredge the rivers? It would generate employment opportunities and that would promote growth and most important help prevent floods.

    1434: Jon Kay, BBC News correspondent

    tweets: Keith - a Kennford resident - throws out his freezer full of rotten food. Another flood insurance claim... #Devon

    A Kennford resident throwing out rotten food after flooding
    1439: Danny Savage North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: The A1 has been closed due to flooding northbound in the Catterick area. Southbound delays too. That will cause very long delays.


    Our BBC News website story on flooding provides a comprehensive overview of the situation across Britain. You can also find your local BBC site by entering your post code within the story.


    Sally Bowes, who lives in Stathe, in Somerset, says her family has been effectively stranded for five days because the roads in and out of their village have been cut off. "In terms of schooling, my two eldest go to a local secondary school by bus, which has obviously been adversely affected by all the flooded water. My youngest goes to a primary school ten miles away so she has been unable to get to school," she says.


    How are other news outlets covering the floods? The Daily Telegraph has aerial views of of extensive flooding around Exeter. And the Guardian has a gallery of images from some of the worst affected areas.

    Photo: Kelvin Summers

    Kelvin Summers took this shot of a waterlogged rugby pitch at Bredon School in Gloucestershire

    1451: Michael Downie, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

    emails: Watching the live feeds, facebook and Twitter with interest now. Last time the flooding hit the North East it took me five hours to get home from work. At the first sign of any road closures in the North East, that's it, I'm off.


    Clare Francis, from, says there could be wide ramifications if hundreds of thousands of people are unable to get insurance cover because their homes have been flooded. House prices, for example, could be affected.

    "The government doesn't want taxpayers to foot the bill, but it also doesn't want hundreds of thousands of householders not to get insurance," she tells the BBC.

    A man walks through flood water near his home in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

    Northallerton, North Yorkshire, where this man is wading through water near his home, has been hit badly by flooding.

    1502: Richard Westcott BBC transport correspondent

    A total of 20% of trains across Britain have been delayed because of the weather, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.

    1507: Rosy Mackin, Birmingham

    emails: I don't understand why commercial and domestic developers and Highways, are not made to provide adequate drainage. In the West Norfolk, Lincolnshire fen areas houses are often below sea and river level by several feet but their safety is assured by attention to ditches, drains and of course pumping stations. Is there adequate drainage elsewhere? Why is there no government led initiative on drainage?

    1511: National Rail Enquiries

    tweets: The line between #Doncaster and York is expected to remain shut for the rest of the day

    Norman Robinson, of the Environment Agency

    Norman Robinson of the Environment Agency, speaking in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, urges people in the flooded area to "stay alert" and keep monitoring the agency's website. "The good news is that the forecast for the rest of the week is that it'll get better," he says.

    1524: Jon Kay, BBC News correspondent

    I've been told by the RSPCA that they are trying to rescue a number of animals from a flooded farm in Somerset. It's at Pibsbury, near Langport. The farm is cut off by floodwater and a number of sheep, and a horse are in danger.


    Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, says: "The government needs to act quickly on its word to provide greater assurances over flood protection for developers to ensure that homes and regeneration sites are insurable and protected."


    Police and coastguards have called off the search for a person believed to have fallen into the swollen River Annan in the Everholm area of Annan, Dumfries and Galloway at 1830 GMT on Sunday. A police force spokesman said no body had been found and there had been no reports of a missing person, but the eyewitness who informed police was credible.


    In its coverage, the Independent reports that 200,000 householders may lose home insurance policies. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail looks at the moment a stranded motorist was rescued from a submerged car by a "heroic driver".

    Photo: Andrew Wilson

    Andrew Wilson, from Worcester, captured this scene of the rise in water levels on the River Severn: "We receive all water from upstream. Due to the current rainfall, I cannot see conditions returning to normal for some time."


    Flooding is affecting road and rail travel in several areas of Wales as emergency services warn motorists and residents to heed weather warnings. Buses have replaced trains between Holyhead and Llandudno Junction, and some trains between south Wales and London have been cancelled due to flooding between Swindon and Bristol.


    In Wales, the heavy rain forecast for Monday has led to a Met Office amber weather warning for Gwynedd and Conwy. BBC Weather says persistent rain is expected to set in this afternoon and continue overnight.


    Motorists in Gloucestershire are being warned to beware of floodwater, especially as the hours of darkness approach. The A417 at Maisemore, near Gloucester, has already flooded. It is closed and will not be opened again tonight.

    Photo: Rick Carpenter

    "Luckily, the tree appears to have fallen adjacent to the main road. It would have definitely blocked the road if it had fallen 90 degrees to the left. The weather is still blustery with heavy showers," says Rick Carpenter, in Hayle, Cornwall, who took this photo.


    BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme asked people all over the UK to send in their videos of the bad weather. Here are a selection of those videos from the last few days.


    More than five-and-a-half million properties in England and Wales are deemed to be at risk from flooding. Our feature on how you can protect your home or business might provides some answers to questions you may have.

    1617: John murphy, Haltwhistle, UK

    emails: Having been flooded twice this year already I'm hoping today passes with no flooding, so far it's been steady but not heavy enough to flood the town, it is a worrying situation with the excess on insurance policies rocketing, if I'm flooded again I wouldn't be able to claim to put things right.


    Gloucestershire County Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council will be setting up relief centres tonight for people who are being evacuated. They are expecting water levels to continue rising overnight. The village of Tirley is completely cut off.

    Photo: Andrew Greener

    Andrew Greener, in Tanfield Lea, County Durham spotted this woman abandoning her car. He says it is still raining heavily and the flood levels are increasing.


    Devon has seen twice its monthly average rainfall in six days and more is forecast, with icy conditions expected later in the week. Rail services in and out of the region have been disrupted by landslips, flooding and damage to tracks.

    1636: Environment Agency

    tweets: Latest news: Risk of significant flooding remains for north and southern central England and North Wales

    1644: Jon, Witney, Oxfordshire

    emails: The Windrush River in Witney has burst its banks and the High Street has begun flooding. Many homes and businesses have been evacuated.

    1652: Jon Kay, BBC News correspondent

    tweets: Hearing from the RSPCA that a number of chiahuahuas have been rescued by boat from a flooded house in Somerset this afternoon...

    Scene in Fatfield, County Durham

    A man moves sandbags in the village of Fatfield, near Washington, in County Durham, after the River Wear burst its banks.


    People on Tyneside and Wearsideas heavy rain swept in this afternoon. Standing water caused problems on some roads, including the A19 northbound near Testos roundabout, in South Tyneside. Police have warned drivers to take care.

    1702: Met Office Storms

    tweets: Still 288 flood alerts and 197 flood warnings in force across England & Wales


    Flood warnings have been issued in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire by the Environment Agency after heavy rain. A number of properties along the river at Newport Pagnell have flooded and some homes are expected to flood in Olney and Newton Blossomville, it says.

    Flood defences in Bewdley

    In Bewdley, Worcestershire, flood defences are set to be tested by the rising River Severn.


    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is addressing MPs in the House of Commons about the flooding.


    Mr Paterson tells MPs more than 900 properties have been flooded across Britain and further rain is forecast overnight.


    Protecting communities against flooding is one of the government's priorities, he says.


    The environment secretary adds: "I want to assure the House that the Environment Agency and their partners are working around the clock. Around 50,000 properties have been protected by recently built flood defences."


    Mr Paterson says the flooding has been "a tragedy for those affected" and pays tribute to the "wonderful community spirit" in many areas affected.


    Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh asks Mr Paterson a series of questions about the flooding situation and asks him if cuts to fire services across the country threatened their ability to respond.


    Ms Creagh asks the government what was happening about the deal with the Association of British Insurers about flood insurance. She calls on the chancellor to "get a grip" on the situation and conclude a deal.


    The environment secretary rebuffs Ms Creagh's remarks regarding flood insurance, saying: "Today's story is complete nonsense." He says the previous government had failed to negotiate a deal with the insurance industry.

    The situation in Northallerton

    Earlier, firefighters pumped water from this swollen site in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, in order to keep nearby Friarage Hospital from flooding. The BBC understands operations will return to normal tomorrow after the cancellation of all surgery today.


    To summarise today's developments:

    • About 200 flood warnings and 300 alerts are still in force in England and Wales
    • Talks about flood insurance are at "crisis point" and could leave 200,000 homes without cover, according to an insurers' body
    • Heavy rain and flooding has disrupted parts of Britain's road and rail network
    • Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the House of Commons more than 900 properties have been flooded across Britain
    • He said further rain is forecast overnight.

    Thank you for following our live coverage of the floods. Details of flood warnings can be found on the Environment Agency's website and BBC Weather provides forecasts that are constantly updated. Keep abreast of the latest developments in text, audio and video at the BBC News website.


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