Floods prompt M50 closure and Ross-on-Wye homes evacuation

Flooding on Roman Way, Ross-on-Wye
Image caption Many roads in Ross-on-Wye have been flooded

The M50 has reopened after part of it was closed due to "severe weather" which saw up to a foot of water in some places.

The westbound carriageway was closed at the M5 junction near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, up to junction two. It was also shut eastbound between junctions two and one.

The motorway was reopened by 17:25 BST, said The Highways Agency .

More than two dozen roads were closed in Herefordshire on Friday.

Stranded motorists were rescued and residents left their homes, while a rest centre was set up in Ross-on-Wye.

Herefordshire Council said it received more than 120 reports of flooding across the county and hundreds of people had turned up at depots for sandbags and help.

More than 4,000 sandbags were handed out.

'Pay tribute'

Properties at a Ross-on-Wye sheltered housing complex were evacuated.

About 20 elderly people in Smallbrook Gardens were taken to a community centre.

Council leader John Jarvis said: "I would like to pay tribute to the hundreds of members of staff from the council, its contractors, the emergency services, our partners and other agencies.

"[They] have again pulled together today to provide an effective response to severe weather."

Earlier, Highways Agency operations manager Neil Taylor said the M50 was "suffering from patches of... water from the local fields but it has got some depth to it in places".

He added: "The ground is sodden and where water runs off, or ditches overspill, it can very quickly put quite a depth of water on to the carriageway."

'Nobody's prepared'

Andrew Atkinson, ward councillor for Ross-on-Wye east, told BBC Hereford and Worcester the situation was "horrendous".

He said: "We've got extremely heavy rain running straight through people's houses - it's dire.

"Nobody's prepared for it, it's shocked everybody."

Commuter Steve Richmond, from Cheltenham, said: "Once I got to the junction at Roman Way and Archenfield Road in Ross-on-Wye the road was completely flooded and impassable.

"People were either turning back or had tried to get through and got stuck."

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