04/02/2004

Flooding hits Wales and parts of northeast England

A number of main roads in Wales have been closed by the rising floodwaters as torrential rain swept north-eastwards this morning.

The Environment Agency this afternoon had warned that water levels were continuing to rise. There were more than 50 flood warnings, almost half of these in Wales and over 60 flood "watches" had also been notified by the agency, which is responsible for monitoring river levels in England and Wales. Scotland appears to have escaped most of the heaviest of the rainfall, but several flood watches are in place.

Four people were trapped in their homes by rising waters as heavy rain spread northwards and eastwards throughout the morning. Several inches of rain has fallen in some areas causing what have been described as "flash floods" in places where rivers have burst their banks.

The village of Trefriw remained effectively cut off by road this afternoon with military vehicles drafted in to attempt an evacuation if the water levels rose further.

Among the worst affected areas in Wales are around the rivers Dee, Rhondda, Severn, Usk, Wye, Vyrnwy and Towy. In northeast England the rivers, Calder, Derwent, Ouse, Swale, Ure and Wiske were the subject of flood warnings. In the Midlands the rivers Churnet, Dove, Servern, Soar, Sow, Trent, Vyrnwy, Wye were also affected.

The Environment Agency website contains regularly updated information on flood warnings at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/subjects/flood/floodwarning/.

A number of rivers were beginning to be given the all clear this afternoon as the worst of the rain passed through Wales and the midlands. By mid-afternoon over 30 "all clears" had been notified for Wales.

(SP)

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