Shropshire flooding: Rivers start to rise again after weekend rain

River levels remain high in Shropshire today and are starting to rise again, after the UK suffered its wettest February on record, which saw three successive storms bring heavy downpours and flooding.

The Boat Inn, in Jackfield, near Ironbridge
The Boat Inn, in Jackfield, near Ironbridge

A UK average of 202.1mm fell last month, surpassing February 1990 when 193.4mm fell, the Met Office said. Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded as areas were deluged by more than a month’s worth of rainfall in just 24 hours, while some 127,000 properties were protected by flood defences this winter, authorities said.

Some 15 rivers in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire recorded their highest levels on record and the Environment Agency warned the country needs to brace itself for “more frequent periods of extreme weather like this” because of climate change.

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After Storm Jorge hit the UK this weekend, following on from Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, all eyes are now on Ironbridge, Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth, although river levels are not expected to be as high as those which brought such devastation to Shropshire this week.

Ironbridge river level:

Shrewsbury river level:

Bridgnorth river level:

However, it is feared the rain will feed into the River Severn, creating new problems for the flood-hit communities as it makes its way downstream.

This morning, Chris Bainger, from the Environment Agency, said about 60-70mm of rain had fallen in the Welsh mountains which was now feeding into the already-swollen River Severn.

The Severn is expected to peak again on Monday afternoon or evening, although crucially it will be about 1.5m below the peak level of the past week.

Today Shropshire Council said Berwick Road in Shrewsbury was closed again, along with Old Coleham, Gravel Hill Lane, Sydney Avenue, Atcham to Cross Houses, Chiltern Farm Lane and Victoria Avenue. Frankwell and St Julian’s Friars car parks remain closed.

In Bridgnorth, Riverside and Riverside West elevated car parks are closed.

Colliery Road, and Clarke’s Lane, in St Martins are both closed, along with Burma Road, in Park Hall, Whittington, the B4368 Clun to Newcastle road, and Doctors Lane, Riverside and Severnside South in Bridgnorth.

Environment Agency engineers spent Friday repairing the damaged barriers at Ironbridge after they were breached, ahead of the river's expected rise.

Yesterday Attinghham Park, near Shrewsbury, postponed its Saturday Night Run event because of the predicted high wind from Storm Jorge.

Crews from Welshpool Fire Station dealt with the incident on the A490 and said the road was closed and "impassable to all vehicles".

Flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected - immediate action required, were in place for:

  • River Severn at Bridgnorth

  • River Severn at Hampton Loade and Highley

  • River Severn at Ironbridge and Jackfield

  • River Severn at Quatford

  • River Severn at Shrawardine, Montford Bridge and Mytton

  • River Severn at Shrewsbury

  • River Severn at the Showground and The Quarry, Shrewsbury

  • River Vyrnwy at Maesbrook

  • River Vyrnwy at Melverley

Flood alerts - meaning flooding is possible, be prepared - were in place for:

  • Lower Teme and Upper Teme

  • Rea Brook and Cound Brook

  • River Severn in Shropshire

  • River Worfe

  • Severn Vyrnwy confluence

  • Tern and Perry Catchments

  • The River Dee Catchment in England from Whitchurch to Chester

Cold, bright and frosty conditions are forecast for Sunday as the UK enters the new month, Strong winds of up to 70mph, showers and snow across parts of Scotland and northern England are forecast for Sunday morning, with many areas waking to a touch of frost and ice, the Met Office said.

Average UK rainfall in February
(PA Graphics)

Jorge, this month’s third named storm, prompted weather warnings stretching from Cornwall to the north of Scotland and across to Northern Ireland.

Wind warnings last until 9am on Sunday across much of England and Wales and until 3pm the same day across Northern Ireland, southern Scotland, and northern England.

Persistent snowfall was forecast over higher parts of Scotland, with up to 30cm predicted in some places, with warnings in place until noon on Monday, the Met Office said.

Heavy rain which started with Storm Ciara continued with Storm Dennis and now Storm Jorge contributed to record river levels which saw hundreds of emergency staff working on flood defences and pumps, clearing debris and repairing damaged defences across the country.

The Government has said it is investing £2.6 billion in flood defences by 2021.

On Saturday, flooded roads were closed in Wiltshire, people were rescued from cars stranded in water in Devon and Somerset, and the Ouse Bridge in Humberside was closed to high-sided vehicles and the speed limit lowered to 40mph amid fears of strong winds.

Police in flood-hit South Wales declared a temporary “critical incident” on Saturday morning as emergency services, councils and other bodies worked to protect property and infrastructure and protect residents.

A total of 90 flood warnings were in place across England and Wales, mostly in the South West and along the English-Welsh border, and in Yorkshire, while a further 215 “flooding is possible” alerts are also in force.

Towns including Ironbridge and Bewdley, plus West Cowick and Lidgate in East Yorkshire, along the River Aire, are among the worst-hit areas in England.

More than 3,300 properties in England are thought to have been flooded as a result of the combined effects of storms Ciara and Dennis, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said.

On Tuesday, Welsh Government minister Lesley Griffiths said local authorities in Wales had confirmed more than 1,000 homes had flooded, with reports of more than 300 businesses also affected over the previous two weeks.

The leap year does not affect the wettest February record data, the Met Office said.

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