24th March 2020

Environment Storm Jorge: Flood-hit areas braced for more heavy rain

Environment Storm Jorge: Flood-hit areas braced for more heavy rain


environment Ironbridge flood defencesImage copyright
PA Media

Image caption

Flood defence barriers in Ironbridge were repaired on Friday

Flood warnings are in place across Shropshire and Worcestershire amid fears rain could impact high river levels.

Engineers finished repairing flood defences in Ironbridge and Bewdley on Friday after they were breached.

The Environment Agency (EA) warns river levels will rise again following rainfall on Friday night and said the forecast “remains unsettled”.

It said river levels “remain stubbornly high” and will be for “some days”.

Chris Bainger, from the agency, said: “We’ve already had the rain yesterday and through the night, we had 20 to 60mm in the Welsh mountains, that’s already getting the rivers starting to rise and we’re just seeing it starting to rise again in Shrewsbury, so for sure we’ll see it here [in Ironbridge] probably in the next 12 hours.

“We expect it to peak somewhere between 5.1m and 5.4m and it’ll start coming again on to the barrier.”

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PA Media

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The Met Office declared this month as the wettest February on record

Storm Jorge threatens to bring further devastation but the severe flood warning for the River Severn at Ironbridge was downgraded on Friday lunchtime.

A Met Office yellow weather warning for wind is in place across parts of the West Midlands until 09:00 GMT on Sunday.

England has had more than 200% of its average February rainfall, according to the EA, with some areas receiving a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours.

The Met Office also declared this month as the wettest February on record, beating February 1990.

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Media captionWhy has the latest UK storm been named “Jorge”

The EA said 1,000 staff per day had been working on flood defences and pumps, clearing debris and repairing damaged defences.

Dave Throup, from the EA praised the “Herculean efforts” to fix the barriers in time, but Tim Norton, also from the agency, said: “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

West Mercia Police said it anticipated there would be further rainfall over the next 36 hours, with all agencies monitoring the impact.

The force told residents not to attempt to drive through flood water and advised those returning to their homes to be careful of “associated risks with electrics and contamination”.

In Worcester, riverside car parks are closed but all others are open, the council said.

A number of football matches have been postponed due to water-logged pitches. One team in north Herefordshire shared a video of their pitch inspection, with the groundsman saying the match was “off, off, off”.

On Friday engineers carried out inspections of the entire flood barrier in Ironbridge and replaced parts where necessary.

Engineers had been “really impressed with how the barriers have held up”, Mr Norton added.

“Even though they moved, even though there was some damage, they still did their job.

“We’re confident they will offer really good protection in the coming days,” he added.

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