England

Midlands flood warnings in place after weekend rain

People evacuated in Greyfriars, Hereford Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption Some Hereford residents had to be rescued from the flooding by firefighters on Saturday

Flood warnings remain in place across the Midlands after heavy rain flooded homes and businesses.

Homes were evacuated in Hereford amid the worst flooding seen there since 1998, with the River Wye at its highest levels since records began.

More than 20 flood warnings are in force and roads in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire were closed.

Many places saw nearly a month's worth of rain in little over 24 hours.

The Wye was 5m above its usual level on Sunday, although in Hereford "things are starting to calm down", according to Chris Bainger from the Environment Agency.

He said flood defences in the city "really did their job" and the flooding "could have been a lot worse".

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service rescued 134 people, 16 dogs, three cats and two hamsters from flooding-related call-outs between 09:00 BST on Saturday and 07:00 GMT on Monday.

Image copyright @Z70Photo
Image caption Roads were closed in Stafford after The River Sow burst its banks

Cheshire Fire and Rescue said it was called to two river rescues in Nantwich on Saturday.

One man was found "hanging on to the bridge in fast-flowing water" near Waterlode, and another was found "clinging to a branch".

Both men were brought to safety, the fire service said.

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Media captionRising floodwaters lead to evacuations

The Environment Agency said it was investigating the flooding in Cheshire as there was a "small amount of seepage" in the county's £7m flood defences which were completed in 2017.

James Twigg, one of a number of residents near Northwich marina who had to be evacuated, said: "We got back after midnight Saturday night and it was up to our waist."

Image caption Residents who live on the Northwich marina were advised to evacuate their homes
Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption River levels in Shrewsbury peaked at 4.06m

Residents in Hereford have been cleaning up after at least 20 properties, including a care home, had to be evacuated on Saturday due to rising waters.

Herefordshire Council confirmed 18 of the home's residents had been safely evacuated and all had either been put in temporary accommodation or returned to their own homes.

Carla Good was forced to take refuge upstairs after water rushed into her home.

"It's just terrible, all the carpets are wet through, we're all having to wear boots," she said.

She said the lino in her kitchen had been ripped up by the floods, the garden was "a mess" and her house now "smells disgusting".

Image copyright Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Homes in Hereford were evacuated when the River Wye reached its highest level for 20 years
Image copyright Ch Insp Helen Wain
Image caption Police said they discouraged one family from trying to drive through the flooded Teme at Ham Bridge, in Worcestershire
Image caption Colin Taylor rescued people in Hereford

Flood warden Colin Taylor got out his boat and rescued neighbours when the water rose in Greyfriars Avenue in Hereford on Sunday.

He said: "I was making sure people were safe and sound... and if they wanted to be moved, we said 'jump in the boat, let's push you to safety'."

In Kentchurch, pub landlord William Chambers said he was forced to stop serving food on Saturday when "the fields just emptied" into The Bridge Inn.

"There was a lot of destruction," he said. "It was quite a powerful flood."

He hopes to return to business as usual by Wednesday depending on the damage to his kitchen equipment after "half the village" helped clean up the pub on Sunday.

Rail disruption is expected to last for at least a week with part of a track at Pontrilas washed away.

River levels have steadied in Worcester, but will not peak until Tuesday,

Image copyright Juraj Mikurcik
Image caption Juraj Mikurcik took this photo of flooding around Ross-on-Wye
Image copyright Milo Jackson
Image caption The Environment Agency says the river Teme at Tenbury reached its highest level since 2007
Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Flash floods washed away the railway foundation stone at Pontrilas in Herefordshire

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