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'Trees down, sinkholes, impassable roads'

BBC Shropshire

More than 100 calls were made to Shropshire's fire service in two hours last night as heavy rain swept the county.

Fire engine at floodwater
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

The service said even its fire station in Wellington was flooded.

Simon Hardiman, the service's assistant Chief Fire Officer, said crews were pushed to the limit.

"Trees down, sinkholes, mud on the road, impassable roads. We did actually go to some structural damage caused by water entering properties."

BreakingStorms warning extended

A weather warning from the Met Office has now been extended.

Its amber warning for storms covers Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham and the Black Country, as well as parts of Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

Warning map
Met Office

It's in place till 21:00 and the Met Office says there's a chance of flash floods as well as damage from lightning strikes and strong winds.

It added that power supplies, as well as water and gas could be affected.

The Environment Agency's Dave Throup, based in the region, warned: "Exceptionally powerful thunderstorms could deliver up to 100mm of rain in a couple of hours. If that happens there will be severe impacts."

The lightning over many parts of the West Midlands on Tuesday night proved to be one of the most spectacular in years.

Matt Stanton's slow motion video captured it illuminating the skies over Stourbridge:

Lightning in Stourbridge filmed in slow motion

RSPCA: More than 900 animal welfare incidents in lockdown

The RSPCA says it dealt with more than 900 animal welfare incidents in Shropshire during lockdown - an average of seven a day.

Nationally, between 24 March and 5 August it handled more than 100,000 cases.

A sick dog recovered by the RSPCA in Shropshire.
RSPCA

The charity says as well as operating an emergency service rescuing animals in need, officers have also been collecting animals from the homes of people who've been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

Flood alerts for rivers

The heavy rain that fell overnight has brought worries of flooding in some parts of the West Midlands.

The Environment Agency has flood alerts for where the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy meet in Shropshire, along with the rivers Blythe, Cole, Rea, Stour and Tame.

Flood map
Environment Agency

It said river levels were likely to fall during the day, but could rise again, with more thunderstorms expected.

Met Office warns of flash flooding

BBC Weather

The Met Office is warning the thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon could bring flash flooding.

And it said that in turn could cause traffic problems and delays on public transport.

Rain at Kinver
Windways

The thunderstorms are forecast to continue through the weekend, with temperatures up to 30C (86F).

Travellers' site given all clear from Covid-19

Tests at a travellers' site in Craven Arms in Shropshire have confirmed all of its residents are now free of infection.

Twenty nine people had tested positive at Long Lane. Shropshire Council and Public Health England Midlands say all have now completed their self-isolation.

Road sign on the way in to Craven Arms
Google

As of Monday 10 August, almost 400 people in the wider community have taken up the offer of testing, but no further positive cases have been identified.

Shropshire Council says testing is still available for residents, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

'Flash flooding likely'

The Met Office is predicting thunderstorms and sudden torrential downpours across Shropshire and north Worcestershire as the humidity rises this afternoon.

A line of localised storms are working their way eastwards.

The Environment Agency's manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Dave Throup, is warning of the risk of flash flooding.

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Weather: Mainly sunny before the showers

BBC Weather

We might see the odd shower this morning but mainly there will be sunny spells today and it will continue to feel very warm and muggy. High: 30C/86F.

This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire
Dee
This morning in Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire

Then turning cloudy this evening with showers starting to appear which could be sharp and possibly thundery. Low: 17C/63F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Chairman leaves under-fire hospital trust

BBC Shropshire

The chairman of an NHS trust running two under-fire hospitals is stepping down as senior NHS officials from Birmingham are drafted in to try and turn it around.

Sign for hospital
BBC

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is at the centre of an independent inquiry into maternity care which is examining hundreds of cases dating back more than 40 years.

It has also been in special measures since November 2018 and its accident and emergency department is regularly among the worst in England in terms of waiting times.

In response, the trust says the NHS has created an "Improvement Alliance" which will see experts from Birmingham work with management in Shropshire to tackle issues around clinical care.

At the same time, it says chairman Ben Reid, who has been in position since 2018, has decided to go. He will be replaced by a new chair, Dr Catriona McMahon, a director from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Weather: A warm and sunny Friday

BBC Weather

Plenty of sunshine around and it will be mainly dry and fine with just the chance of a few showers this afternoon. High: 28C (82F).

Codsall
BBC Weather Watcher Sue Snaps
This morning in Codsall, Staffordshire

Warm and muggy tonight with any lingering showers clearing away to leave it dry with clear spells. Low: 16C (61F).

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Weather: A dry and warm Thursday

BBC Weather

Today's going to be very warm and mainly dry with just the chance of the odd shower this morning. High: 25C/77F.

This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire
BBC Weather Watcher Mightyship
This morning in Moreton on Lugg, Herefordshire

It will stay dry tonight with clear spells, feeling humid and mild with a low of 15C/59F.

Keep up-to-date on the forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Paddleboard challenge on River Severn to support Worcester centre
The father of an autistic boy is travelling 100 miles down the River Severn on a paddleboard for charity.

4x4 owners given anti-social behaviour warnings

The owners of 4x4 vehicles seen driving along a south Shropshire river-bed last week have been issued with anti-social behaviour warnings by the police

The Environment Agency said they were likely to crush habitats, which would have a knock-on effect for all sort of animals.

4x4 wheel
Getty Images

West Mercia Police has warned that if they're caught again they could end up in court and have their vehicles confiscated.

Guard of honour at funeral of special constable

A funeral has been held today for a special constable who died months after he was hit by a car.

Special Constable Resham Singh Nahal pictured in 2017 at Pride with Chief Constable Dave Thompson
West Midlands Police

Resham Singh Nahal (left) was hit by a car while attending the scene of a separate collision in Oldbury, on 8 November.

Last month, West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson confirmed his death and the force said tests would determine if his death related to the injuries he suffered on duty.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said Mr Nahal was also part of its Patient Transport Service and colleagues formed a guard of honour at Perry Barr Crematorium.

Colleagues at the funeral
West Midlands Ambulance Service

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Sandwell has fallen, according to new figures.

A test sample is held at a COVID-19 testing centre
Reuters

The borough was named as an area of concern by Public Health England last month after a rise in cases.

But data from Public Health England shows there were 66 new cases in the week up to 31 July. Figures for the seven days to 24 July showed 96 cases.

That means 20.2 people tested positive for every for every 100,000 population (up to 31 July), down from 29.3 a week earlier.

Here are the rate of infections (per 100,000 people) for all local authorities in the West Midlands - for the seven days up to 31 July, compared with the previous week.

  • Birmingham down to 12.7 from from 13.4
  • Bromsgrove down to 6.1 from 7.1
  • Cheshire East up to 6.6 from 1.3
  • Coventry up to 14.7 from 8.7
  • Dudley up to 4.7 from 3.4
  • East Staffordshire up to 9.3 from 8.4
  • Herefordshire remains at 5.7
  • Lichfield up to 6.7 from 2.9
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme up to 7.0 from 3.1
  • North Warwickshire is down to 6.2 from 9.3
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth up to 17.8 from 8.5
  • Redditch remains at 1.2
  • Rugby up to 6.5 from 1.9
  • Sandwell down to 20.2 from 29.3
  • Shropshire up to 6.2 from 5.0
  • Solihull up to 7.0 from 4.2
  • South Staffordshire down to 3.6 from 6.2
  • Staffordshire Moorlands up to 6.1 from 1.0
  • Stoke-on-Trent down to 3.1 from 4.3
  • Stratford-on-Avon up to 3.1 from 0.8
  • Tamworth up to 2.6 from 1.3
  • Telford and Wrekin remains at 3.9
  • Walsall remains at 8.1
  • Warwick remains at 4.2
  • Wolverhampton up to 16.8 from 14.5
  • Worcester down to 3.9 from 7.9
  • Wychavon down to 4.7 from 7.9

Shopping centre to get £5m for redevelopment

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Six projects in Shropshire and Herefordshire have been awarded grants totaling £14m by the government.

They've benefited from the same Getting Building Fund as eight projects in Birmingham and Coventry and include £5m for Shropshire Council to spend on redeveloping the Pride Hill shopping centre.

Pride Hill
BBC

The other five grants are:

  • £1m for a project to create new wetlands along the River Lugg
  • £3m to improve Hereford city centre
  • £1m to develop campus facilities for NMITE at Skylon Park
  • £2.38m for a project to create new healthcare and residential units in Wellington
  • £1m for a Wrekin Housing Group project retrofitting homes with zero carbon technology to tackle fuel poverty

Cost of rural crime in county rises 15%

Rural crime cost Shropshire £1.4m last year, a rise of 15% on the previous year, the insurer NFU Mutual has said.

The cost to the wider West Midlands, it added, was more than £10m, and said that rural crime in the UK was at its highest level for eight years.

Cow
BBC

NFU Mutual said the rise is being driven by organised criminal gangs targeting high-value tractors, quad bikes and large numbers of livestock.

Weather: Mainly dry and sunny today

BBC Weather

Monday will be mainly dry with sunny spells although there could be some more cloud around this afternoon with a few light showers. High: 19C/66F.

Leek this morning
Tammys Pics
This morning near Leek, Staffordshire

Then although there'll be some patchy cloud with the odd shower tonight, it will generally turn dry with clear spells through the night. Low: 8C/46F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

How hot is it going to get today?

BBC Weather

It will be a dry and hot day for most of the West Midlands with plenty of sunshine.

Later in the afternoon, some patchy cloud will build up, with the small chance of catching a sharp shower but temperatures could reach 32°C (90°F).

This was the scene in Eckington, Worcestershire, this morning and taken by BBC Weather Watcher Jo.

Eckington
BBC Weather Watchers/Jo
Paramedic on struggle to recover mentally from stabbing
Deena Evans and her colleague Michael Hipgrave were stabbed while attending a patient in Wolverhampton.

4x4 drivers 'crushing' river habitats

The drivers of 4x4 vehicles who have been taking them up and down a south Shropshire river are being warned they are "crushing" important habitats.

The Environment Agency says while it is not illegal, drivers could face trespassing fines if they don't get permission from landowners.

4x4 wheel
Getty Images

Chris Bainger from the Environment Agency said: "They are crushing the gravels and all the ecology that lives in there. That is the life support system of the river."

He said the vehicles have been "doing a lot of damage" and that it would affect other creatures up the food chain, including fish, river mammals and birds.

Weather: Sunshine and showers

BBC Weather

A mix of sunny spells and showers today. Cool and breezy with a high of 17C/63F.

Knowle, Solihull this morning
BBC Weather Watchers/Dammo
Knowle, Solihull this morning

Then any remaining showers will die out through tonight with clear spells appearing later on. Low: 11C/52F.

Get an up-to-date forecast for your area at any time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Severn Valley Railway tests trains ahead of reopening

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Test trains are being run by Severn Valley Railway as the heritage railway prepares to reopen after months of closure due to Covid-19.

One of the trains behind volunteers
BBC

Volunteers are being used this week ahead of a reopening of passenger services on Saturday.

The railway, which runs between Shropshire and Worcestershire, says it is introducing new cleaning regimes and people will have to pre-book tickets as part of their measures to cope with coronavirus.

Officials add they are only expecting to get close to breaking even in the first month, but hope to build up the money coming in over future months and hope to be "somewhere near normal" by the end of the year.

Weather: Showers all day

BBC Weather

There'll be outbreaks of showers today, with gusty winds, and the rain could be heavy at times with a small chance of thunder and lightning. High: 21C/70F.

Rain in Bromyard, Herefordshire, this morning
Mrs Baggins
Rain in Bromyard, Herefordshire, this morning

Windy this evening with a few showers before turning largely dry and clear overnight. Low: 11C/52F.

You can keep up-to-date on the forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

'We do need help' - medical boss at struggling NHS trust

BBC Shropshire

A struggling hospital trust at the centre of the largest ever review of maternity care in the NHS needs to get back to the "fundamentals of care", its medical director has said.

Princess Royal Hospital sign
BBC

Earlier this week, an investigation into maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SATH) revealed it was now examining nearly 1,900 cases.

While a few days before, the chief inspector of hospitals said the organisation was "normalising poor care" across departments.

SATH said it was working with NHS partners over improvements and medical director Arne Rose told BBC Shropshire it needed the extra support.

"We do need help and we are welcoming to the help that arrives for us, organised by NHS England and by other people."

He added mangers needed to recognise issues before external inspections did, and one example was getting matrons back on the ward so "we can recognise and tackle any issues with basic care as we find them".

Probe into racism towards footballer continues

BBC Sport

An investigation into racist abuse on social media targeted at teenage footballer Jude Bellingham is now being handled by West Mercia Police.

Jude Bellingham
PA Media

The 17-year-old played his final game for Birmingham City on Wednesday as he is moving to German giants Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham described the post on Twitter as "disgusting" and added: "Times have to change. More has to be done."

The comments were first reported to West Midlands Police but passed to West Mercia Police as it said the teenager was from north Worcestershire.

New probe launched by MPs into English maternity care

BBC Shropshire

A new inquiry into the safety of maternity services in England has been launched today by a group of MPs.

A pregnant woman
Getty Images

The Health and Social Care Committee said it would build on investigations into concerns at NHS trusts including the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust.

Earlier this week, it was revealed the probe into the Shropshire trust was examining nearly 1,900 cases, the vast majority since the year 2000.

In the new inquiry, which will be accepting evidence until 4 September, MPs will consider what actions need to be taken to improve maternity safety at all hospitals.

It'll also look at the extent to which a “blame culture” affects decision-making and whether litigation and clinical negligence processes need to change.

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Sandwell has risen again, according to new figures.

The data from Public Health England shows there were 86 new cases in the week up to 20 July. Figures for the seven days to 19 July showed 76 cases.

That means 26.3 people tested positive for every for every 100,000 population (up to 20 July), up from 12.2 a week earlier.

Dr Lisa McNally, the Director of Public Health for Sandwell, said on Monday it hadn't yet reached the stage where a local lockdown was needed, but she was monitoring the rise.

Infection rate slide
Reuters

Here are the rate of infections (per 100,000 people) for all local authorities in the West Midlands - for the seven days up to 20 July, compared with the previous week.

  • Birmingham up to 12.9 from from 7.0
  • Bromsgrove up to 5.1 from 4.1
  • Cheshire East down to 3.9 from 4.2
  • Coventry up to 7.4 from 2.5
  • Dudley down to 0.9 from 2.2
  • East Staffordshire down to 15.2 from 29.5
  • Herefordshire down to 16.1 from 43.7
  • Lichfield up to 4.8 from 3.8
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme down to 2.3 from 5.4
  • North Warwickshire is up to 9.3 from 1.5
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth up to 10.9 from 10.1
  • Redditch up to 3.5 from 0.0
  • Rugby down to 3.7 from 10.3
  • Sandwell up to 26.3 from 12.1
  • Shropshire down to 0.9 from 3.4
  • Solihull down to 5.1 from 7.9
  • South Staffordshire stays the same at 2.7
  • Staffordshire Moorlands down to 0.0 from 4.1
  • Stoke-on-Trent down to 2.7 from 9.0
  • Stratford-on-Avon down to 0.0 from 5.5
  • Tamworth down to 2.6 from 3.9
  • Telford and Wrekin stays the same at 7.3
  • Walsall down to 8.8 from 11.3
  • Warwick up to 2.1 from 1.4
  • Wolverhampton up to 5.7 from 4.2
  • Worcester up to 4.9 from 2.9
  • Wychavon down from 1.6 from 4.7

What's the weather got in store?

BBC Weather

It will be a largely dry day with areas of cloud and the chance of some showers with highs of 23°C (73°F).

This was the view in Bromyard, Herefordshire, earlier taken by BBC Weather Watcher Mrs Baggins.

Bromyard
BBC Weather Watchers/Mrs Baggins

Weather: Sunny spells giving way to rain

BBC Weather

Some sunny spells this morning but it will soon turn pretty cloudy with some patchy, light rain forecast for this afternoon. A breezy day with a high of 19C/66F.

Barnt Green, Worcestershire this morning
OutwithArchie
Barnt Green, Worcestershire this morning

Any lingering rain will fizzle out through this evening, leaving a dry, fairly cloudy night with just a few clear spells. Low: 13C/55F.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

Call for government to take action over maternity care

BBC Shropshire

The leader of Telford and Wrekin Council has urged the government to take "immediate action" over the maternity scandal at Shropshire's hospitals.

An independent review into maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is now looking into nearly 1,900 cases, with the vast majority in the last 20 years.

Shaun Davies
BBC

Councillor Shaun Davies said the latest developments go "to the heart of the toxic culture at the highest levels of the organisation".

Can we expect more sunshine today?

BBC Weather

After a dry and sunny start some cloud will build later with top temperatures of 20C (68F).

It was a lovely start to the morning in Upton upon Severn as captured here by BBC Weather Watcher Dee.

Upton upon Severn
BBC Weather Watchers/Dee