The day the floods returned to Shropshire
[gallery] Farmers and residents were clearing up on the Welsh borders today following two days of flood devastation as it became Shropshire's turn to face up to the deluge.
Farmers and residents were clearing up on the Welsh borders today following two days of flood devastation as it became Shropshire's turn to face up to the deluge.
The lower reaches of the swollen River Severn were threatening to burst their banks this afternoon and flood warnings were in place from Shrewsbury all the way down to Bridgnorth.
The waters were expected to peak in Ironbridge this afternoon where shop and bar owners were preparing for the worst with sandbags on standby.
Members of the town's rowing club were alert to the danger, however, and volunteers last night rallied round to clear out the boathouse.
Club chairman Bill Scott said: "It was great to see everyone just getting on with the job and especially nice to see junior members and their parents fully involved too."
Mary Conner, from the Malthouse in Ironbridge, said that while a few businesses had been affected in the gorge most remained open for trade.
She said: "The waters are really high but so far we are fine.
"The flood barriers are up but most of the high street is still open and we are still open for business.
"We have not had any major problems here since the flood barriers were installed, I think the last time we had a flood was about 11-years-ago."
Mike Robinson, from the Museum on the Gorge, said there were plans in place to deal with the rising water.
But as of yet the river had not reached dangerous levels, he added.
He said: "The whole of The Wharfage is now closed. And that will affect the amount of people we have coming down to visit the Gorge. It will affect us and local trade."
Flood barriers are expected to stay in place until tomorrow when water levels are expected to fall.
Bridgnorth assistant golf professional David Baker said the club had been forced to close six holes on the course because of flooding from the river, and more could follow as waters rise.
He said: "Unfortunately, when waters rise the holes nearest the river are affected. At the moment, some of the practice ground is also under water.
"We have 12 holes currently open and it's quite rare for the waters to come up close to the clubhouse, so we should be able to keep nine holes open at the worst."
Caroline Weston, proprietor of the Severn Arms in Bridgnorth, said the town was bracing itself for rising waters.
She said: "The river has climbed high enough for footpaths along the river to be closed and from what I have heard the river is set to rise further."
Flood barriers were put in place overnight in Coleham Head and Frankwell, in Shrewsbury town centre, with water levels not reaching their peak until late yesterday evening.
Officials from the Environment Agency predicted river levels peaked at almost 15ft in the Shrewsbury area last night.
Frankwell and St Julian's Friars car parks remained closed today and council chiefs were reminding the public to use the park & ride facilities in the town.
Road closures were seen at Gravel Hill Lane and Sydney Avenue in the town, and floods also threatened areas in Coleham Head, Roushill, Berwick Road and Raven Meadows.
Llanymynech, Maesbrook, Melverley, Llandrinio, and Longden Coleham in Shrewsbury were just some of the areas affected as the River Vyrnwy and River Severn flooded roads, fields and farmland over the last two days.
The Environment Agency sent warnings to people whose properties were thought to be at risk of flooding.
On the Shropshire border, farmers had to move livestock and motorists needed to find longer and alternative routes to avoid floods.
Sarah Gregory, from the Village Pantry in Llanymynech, said: "Everybody has told us they have had problems trying to get here on the back roads.
"The farmers have had to get their sheep and it is lambing season so that has not done much good for them."
Farmer Stephen Simpson, from Maesbrook, said he saw floodwaters creep across the fields and stop only metres from his 100-year-old house, Gwernydaybwll.
He said: "The water was at its highest on Sunday and it covered the fence posts in the field.
"It came up through the gate and covered the garden in front of the house.
"It has never come that far up before.
"We were lucky it stopped just before the house.
"We have never had a flood that high before.
"We own the land around the house and we had livestock on the field grazing for other farmers.
"But luckily he had taken his sheep away from those fields the day before the flood arrived."
Terry O'Donnell, from Arddleen, said: "I haven't known Llanymynech to be cut off for 20 years.
"This flood came up quicker than other floods have. This flood is more severe."
Sheila Hobbs, from Llandrinio, called for the nearby bridge to be made larger to cope with the floods.
Despite being cut off by flood water, The Royal Hill, at Edgerley, is still open to customers.
But anyone wanting a drink at the riverside pub would have to find another route because all the roads leading there were still under water yesterday.
Landlord John Bewley said that the pub's usual Tuesday pizza night menu would be open to anyone who turned up.
"Unless the flood water goes down quicker than it is at the moment, I don't suppose many people will turn up, but if they do we'll be ready for them," added Mr Bewley.
Mr Bewley said the only way to get to the pub since the water rose on Sunday was by walking across the fields.
"This year may not have been quite the highest flood we've had but it was certainly the quickest to come up," he added.
Kaynoor Beresford, coach driver for Owens Coaches, said: "The roads by Llansantffraid were flooded and there was a wall and road surfaces washed away.
"I had to come all the other way on my way to work.
"The other guys going to Shrewsbury also had to go the other way. They had a 25-mile trip instead of a five-mile trip.
"The floods have also disrupted the school run and also added an extra £60 in costs for the fuel."
Jude Robinson said that she had to drive through floods when she was travelling on the road from Llanymynech to Welshpool on Sunday.
"We drove through the flood and couldn't get any further and the farmers told us to turn round.
"They also had to help somebody else out of it," she said.
"The water was going so fast over the road.
"The flood made the car shift. It was like a sea."
Things were today getting back to normal in Mid Wales with the river levels dropping and roads starting to re-open across the region.
Powys County Council officials said that all main roads in the county had now reopened and traffic was running as normal.
The only roads that remained closed today were a road off the B4395 at Llwydiarth Mill, Llangadfan, because of high level flooding and the B4393 between Llansantffraid which was also closed because of water covering the road.
Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it hadn't received any weather-related calls since Saturday night and river levels were falling.
A spokesman said: "We were called out dozens of times on Saturday night and Sunday morning to attend to road closures, helping pump water away and help farmers move animals.
"But thankfully, by Sunday evening and through Monday, we have been very quiet on that front and things seem to be getting better."
Anyone in Shrewsbury struggling to park are advised to use Park & Ride services based in Oxon Business Park, Meole Brace Retail Park and Harlescott, near Tesco.
For more information call Shropshire Council on (0345) 678 9000, or Telford & Wrekin Borough Council on (01952) 380000.
People needing sandbags can also call their local council. All the latest information on flood warnings can be found at www.environment-agency.gov.uk
By Simon Hardy
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