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Storm Dennis: More heavy rain forecast amid flood defence fears

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Flooded communities in England and Wales are expecting more heavy rain, adding to fears flood defences might not withstand rising river levels.

About 1,400 homes and businesses have been affected by the floods in the wake of downpours brought by Storm Dennis.

The Rivers Wye and Severn reached their highest-ever levels, with people evacuated from nearby at-risk areas.

The Met Office has issued three yellow weather warnings for rain for Wales and Yorkshire, which begin on Wednesday.

Across the UK, around 140 flood warnings remain in place, including six severe – or “danger to life” – warnings.

Among the worst affected areas are south Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, where major incidents have been declared.

Tory MP Craig Whittaker – who represents the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, which was badly affected by Storm Ciara – said the government’s response to the flooding has been inadequate.

He told the BBC’s Today programme he had been “hammering on doors on Whitehall” since the flooding began nine days ago to get the government to trigger its emergency funding scheme, which was announced on Tuesday night.

Rescue workers lifted a woman to safety in the village of WhitchurchImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionRescue workers lifted a woman to safety in the village of Whitchurch
A van sits in floodwater near the village of Hampton Bishop near Hereford, after the River Lugg burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm DennisImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionA van sits in floodwater near the village of Hampton Bishop near Hereford, where a severe flood warning remains in place

More heavy rain forecast amid flood defence fears

Temporary flood barriers hold back the river Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire, in the aftermath of Storm DennisImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionTemporary flood barriers hold back the Severn in Ironbridge, where around 30 people left their homes

As of 11:00 GMT on Wednesday morning, 645 properties had been flooded across England because of Storm Dennis, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

And in Wales, around 800 homes have been directly affected by the floods, said First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Map of flooding 19 February 2020
Presentational white space

The EA said the levels of the Wye and Severn would remain high into the weekend.

“We expect further disruptive weather into tomorrow and Thursday, bringing a significant flood risk to the West Midlands, and there are flood warnings in place across much of England,” said the EA’s John Curtin.

Homes along the River Severn in the towns of Ironbridge and Bridgnorth in Shropshire were evacuated on Tuesday as river levels continued to rise.

The Boat Inn pubImage copyrightLIAM BALL
Image captionThe Boat Inn pub in Jackfield, near Telford
Firefighters rescue staff and residents from a care home in the village of Whitchurch on the banks of the River Wye following flooding from Storm DennisImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionResidents were evacuated from a flooded care home in Whitchurch, Herefordshire
Peter Morgan was rescued by mountain rescue teams from his house in Monmouth where he has lived his whole lifeImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionPeter Morgan was rescued from his house in Monmouth where he has lived his whole life

More heavy rain forecast amid flood defence fears

There were concerns that flood barriers could be breached in Bewdley and also Upton upon Severn, where two local children baked biscuits and took them out to “everyone who’s helping”.

Currently, there are six severe flood warnings in England, covering the rivers Lugg, Severn, and Wye.

In Wales, there are five flood warnings covering the rivers Wye and Monnow – although none are severe. There are seven flood warnings in Scotland.

Canoeing to shops

The River Wye at Monmouth, in Wales, reached its highest recorded level on Tuesday.

In the town, mountain rescue teams evacuated an elderly man from his home by breaking down his back door with a sledgehammer and taking him to safety on a raft.

Lidl, Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.Image copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionIn Monmouth, local residents canoe past a supermarket
A flooded motorhome dealership is seen following Storm Dennis on February 18, 2020 at Symonds Yat, Herefordshire, England.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA flooded motor home dealership in Symonds Yat, Herefordshire
RSPCA of the animal welfare charity???s specialist water rescue team helping a trapped pony out of flood water from a field beside the River Wey in Guildford,Image copyrightRSPCA
Image captionAn RSPCA team helps a trapped pony out of floodwater from a field beside the River Wey in Guildford

Welsh Water has asked people in Monmouth to reduce their water usage after a treatment works in Monmouthshire flooded.

The Met Office warnings for rain cover south Wales, north-west Wales and north-west England from 18:00 GMT on Wednesday until 15:00 on Thursday.

Another warning is in place for southern Scotland from 14:00 on Wednesday until 11:00 on Thursday, while another comes into force for Yorkshire from 12:00 on Friday until 06:00 on Saturday.

Media captionStorm Dennis: Drone footage shows flooding in Worcester

The EA said more than 6km of temporary flood barriers have been put up across England and flood defences have protected nearly 25,000 properties.

Chris Wreghitt, who lives in the village of Powick, in Worcestershire, says he has been flooded before but not this badly and not since flood defences were built.

He told BBC News: “We were told when they built that flood defence that if it had been there before 2007, we wouldn’t have been flooded.

“Although there have been a couple of near misses over the past few years, we were still confident that we wouldn’t get flooded again.”

Media captionStorm Dennis: Herefordshire farm under water

People in flood-hit households can apply for financial hardship payments of up to £500 for short-term relief, the government announced on Tuesday.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said the funding would “help people in the worst-hit areas to recover and get back on their feet”.

The government support fund also includes up to £5,000 for affected residents and business owners to help make their properties more resilient to future floods.

On Sunday, Yvonne Booth, 55, was killed by the floods after being swept into floodwater near a bridge which crosses the River Teme, near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.

Media captionA 4×4 driver almost needs rescuing himself when he attempts to help flood victims in Herefordshire.

For more information, check the BBC Weather website and your BBC Local Radio station for regular updates.

Guide to flood warnings

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