30/05/2008

Flash Floods Clean-Up In Somerset

A massive clear-up operation is underway after flash flooding hit large parts of Somerset.

Torrential storms on Thursday lead to severe flooding which meant many families had to be evacuated.

Motorists were warned to stay off the roads as many became out of bounds.

A spokesman for the Devon and Somerset fire service said that emergency services were being inundated with calls from 5.50pm yesterday. However people were asked only to phone 999 if there was a risk to life.

The spokesman said that the worst hit areas were Shepton Mallet, Crewkerne, Yeovil, Castle Cary and Wellington.

Four people have been rescued when their car became trapped in a flood at Langford Bridge near Honiton, in Devon.

Andy Newland from Devon and Somerset fire service said it "was a typical flash flood", and that it "was gone as quickly as it came".

He added that the flooding was "very different" from what happened in Gloucestershire last summer as that had "built up over a number of days".

Laura Gilchrist, a forecaster for MeteoGroup said that around 11.8mm of rain had fallen over Yeovil station in just three hours.

A Crewkerne resident Jenny Scrivener told Sky News that her house and street is flooded.

"A friend phone to say she had seen cars floating down the street and a garage had been turned into a floating car park," she said.

An RAF helicopter was not deployed in the end, despite fears it may be needed for rescues and more than 20,000 people heading to the Yeovil music festival were told to stay away.

The Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund was set up last August to raise money and give out grants for households affected by the July 2007 floods that wrecked havoc in Gloucestershire - over £1,824, 045 was raised.

(DS)

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