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Shrewsbury braced for 'worst flood in 20 years' with River Severn on the rise again

By Sue Austin | Shrewsbury | Environment | Published:

Shrewsbury looks set to be hit by the worst flooding it has faced in 20 years - surpassing levels reached in the town in recent days.

A car and van face being cut off as flood waters rise on the Frankwell car park in Shrewsbury

A fresh severe flood warning has been issued, meaning there is danger to life, as the town and the rest of Shropshire reels from the damaging floods of last week.

Multiple town centre roads were set to be closed from midnight on Sunday as a result.

Smithfield Road, Chester Street, Cross Street, Berwick Road, Coton Hill, Raven Meadows, Roushill and Longden Coleham were all earmarked for closure by Shropshire Council.

Upstream the River Severn burst its banks at Welshpool and around Four Crosses and Llanymynech on Sunday. The A483 Welshpool to Oswestry Road was closed and dozens of motorists stuck in flood water had to be towed to safety.

As the clearing up continued along the Severn and the River Teme, the Environment Agency said water levels were rising again and that the River Severn could surpass the near-record levels of last week.

After peaking at 4.85m at the Welsh Bridge last Tuesday, the Severn had dropped to 2.76m on Saturday evening but was back up above 4m by 6pm on Sunday after the week's heavy rain in Wales reached Shropshire.

Dave Throup, regional manager for the Environment Agency, said: "We will be deploying more flood defences in Shrewsbury soon.

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"Flood warnings have been issued for the town and we now expect levels to exceed those seen last week. These will be the highest seen in 20 years.

"Some property flooding and significant disruption is expected."

Officials warned property, roads and farmland in around Shrewsbury at the Showground and The Quarry could be hit by flood waters.

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Warnings were also made for the Severn at Pentre, Montford Bridge and upstream in mid Wales for much of the length of the river from Newtown and through Welshpool - including the sewage works at Dolfor.

There are flood warnings for the River Vyrnwy at Llanymynech, Maesbrook and Melverley on the Teme at Knighton and the Dee at Llangollen and Bangor-on-Dee.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service's water rescue unit and boat crew from Shrewsbury spent Sunday on the flood waters in the Melverley area checking on vulnerable people and those who have been isolated by the flooding.

"We are making sure everyone is ok and prepared for rising water levels," a spokesman said.

With most of the flood barriers still in place along the River Severn, the Environment Agency said it was also expecting to redeploy the barriers at Coleham Head at about 6pm on Sunday.

Shropshire Council said its Frankwell and St Julian's car parks in Shrewsbury were closed until further notice due to rising river levels. Motorists were advised to use Abbey Foregate or Raven Meadows multi-storey.

Flood waters rise on the Frankwell car park in Shrewsbury

The A483 Oswestry to Welshpool road was closed in two places on Sunday afternoon.

Flooding meant the busy trunk road was closed at Four Crosses and along the Welshpool bypass. Local roads near the swollen River Severn were also under several feet of water.

Transport for Wales, which had already suspended its trains on the Shrewsbury to Machynlleth line, said that the replacement bus service had also had to be suspended.

Meanwhile Welshpool Airport was closed again after reopening for flights for just one day on Saturday due to last week's flooding.

County councillor Graham Breeze, who visited some of the homes and businesses affected near Welshpool, said: "The Montgomeryshire Airport had seen business at a standstill as floodwater covered the runway and entered the hangars. On Saturday the first flight had touched down. Today the airport is closed again as the floods have returned.

"I left astounded at the attitude people who despite seeing their homes and businesses so badly hit are quietly and positively getting on with the work of recovery."

The rising river levels came as many residents businesses and organisations along the Severn were cleaning up after the floods brought by Storm Dennis.

Ironbridge Rowing Club members are now hoping there will not be a repeat of the flooding after spending all day yesterday cleaning out their boathouse.

Meanwhile, households hit by flooding will receive a £500 emergency payment and a council tax discount to help with the clean-up.

The River Severn could flood again in parts of Shrewsbury today

Telford and Wrekin Council announced the package of support for residents after 60 homes were flooded, mainly in Ironbridge.

Firms affected will receive a business rate discounts and help with applications for Government grants towards financial losses

Homes and businesses along the Wharfage, in Ironbridge, were evacuated amid the flooding threat from the River Severn.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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