An “immediate evacuation” has been ordered in a town in Shropshire after rising water levels from the River Severn breached flood barriers.
West Mercia Police said it is “currently carrying out an immediate evacuation in Ironbridge due to the temporary barriers becoming overwhelmed”.
Chief superintendent Tom Harding said the evacuation affected premises on the Wharfage in Ironbridge because water from the River Severm was breaching flood barriers “and in areas it appears it is buckling”.
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, said the flood barriers were “shunting backwards quite significantly”.
“Please do not come to Ironbridge. The situation is developing,” he warned.
It comes after temporary flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire were breached on Tuesday night – with homes being evacuated over fears that the River Severn will not reach its peak until tonight.
The Environment Agency said the river at Bewdley is expected to reach between 5.4m and 5.6m, potentially surpassing the highest recorded level of 5.56m that was seen in November 2000.
There are two severe flood warnings in place in Shropshire – indicating a “danger to life” – covering the towns of Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.
According to the Environment Agency, river levels in Ironbridge are expected to remain high for several days.
Network Rail closed all lines at Shrewsbury station, except for services to and from Chester and Crewe, due to high water levels under the Severn Railway Bridge.
Sky News correspondent Dan Whitehead, who is in Bewdley, said he had seen a sofa and fridge freezer float past him and there was an “immensely strong smell of diesel” from generators overwhelmed by flood water.
“This flood water is going to go up by 15cm or so throughout the day,” he added.
Further showers are expected between now and Friday, and ongoing flooding is also forecast for the next few days.
Met Office forecaster John Griffiths has said between 5mm and 10mm could fall on the River Severn’s source, the Welsh hills, throughout Wednesday.
The West of England and the Midlands are expected to experience the most frequent shower