Somerset floods: Environment Agency warns further flooding to come over weekend (From Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News)
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Somerset floods: Environment Agency warns further flooding to come over weekend
Updated 5:05pm Monday 6th January 2014 in News
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- High tide causes problems in coastal towns and villages.
- Heavy rain batters county with more on the way.
- Lightning strikes Bridgwater care home.
- Seafront roads to close again tonight (Friday)
- Dozens of warnings in place after low pressure and winds cause tidal surge.
- Send your flood pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more recent updates, click here.
The South-West and coastal areas are still at risk of flooding over the weekend and into early next week, says the Environment Agency.
Communities are urged to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings as 41 flood warnings are in place for the South West and 63 flood alerts.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Further inland heavy rain has left ground saturated, increasing the risk of river and surface water flooding.
"Environment Agency teams are on standby to deploy demountable defences in some areas. Also at risk are communities along the Severn in Gloucestershire and on the Somerset Levels.
"Rivers are also likely to rise in response to today’s rain in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. Further wet and windy conditions forecast over the weekend could exacerbate problems in already saturated areas."
Environment Agency teams continue to work around the clock checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses, deploying temporary defences, monitoring water levels and issuing flood warnings where necessary.
Most recent estimates suggest that around 90 properties have flooded since yesterday (January 3), bringing the total number of properties flooded to around 220.
The coastal surge in recent days has tested over 3000km of flood defences in England and the EA says over 205,000 properties have been protected.
Jonathan Day, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The risk of flooding to the coast will continue over the next few days, especially on the south and west coast and along the Severn estuary.
"In addition, wet conditions have left the ground saturated in many areas, increasing the risk of river and surface water flooding.
“We would urge people to be prepared by checking their flood risk, signing up to free flood warnings and keeping an eye on the latest flood updates via the EA website and Twitter."
“We have protected over 200,000 properties across the country over the past 48 hours, and the Environment Agency will continue to work around the clock to protect communities.”
Devon and Somerset Fire service has responded to a series of flood-related incidents today (January 4).
At around 10am, fire crews from Somerton were sent to a report of flood water entering a property in Charlton Adam Somerton and effecting its electrics. Crews isolated the electrics and used a light portable pump to remove some of the flood water.
Fire Control received numerous calls of cars driving into flood water this morning.
A spokesman said: "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service will not attend incidents purely for vehicle recovery. Please do not drive into flood water."
At 11.36am Fire crews from Yeovil were sent to a report of flooding in a domestic property on Church Lane, Barwick, Yeovil, that was affecting the electrics. Crews isolated electrics and used a peristaltic pump to pump out the water from the property.
At 1pm Fire crews from Frome attended an incident on New Road, Frome, where a vehicle had driven into flood water. Crews rescued two people from inside the vehicle who were trapped.
At 2.12pm A Fire Crew from Danes Castle were sent to a flooding incident where water was affecting the electrics inside a domestic property on Pennsylvania road, Exeter. Crews Isolated the water supply before leaving the scene.
This photo was sent in by Lisa King. It shows flooding at Blake Gardens in Bridgwater.
Lisa said: "I'm hoping people's homes and businesses are all ok."
Stay away from flood water. Keep clear of waves and riverside paths. Six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet. #floodaware— @EnvAgencySW 03 January 2014
Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain for Somerset.
Minehead and Blue Anchor seafronts have closed again due to high tide and in case of possible flooding.
#Map showing 180,000 properties in England protected from #flooding by defences since 1st Jan. #FloodAware #UKStorm http://t.co/NiTD9mhVXN— @EnvAgency 03 January 2014
Highest ever recorded tide level of 8.3m AoD this morning in Bridgwater, compared with 7.9m AoD in the exceptional tidal flooding of 1981— @waterlevels 03 January 2014
DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to be aware of possible flooding later today and over the weekend.
Motorists are being urged to heed warnings not to drive through floodwater.
Area Manager Alex Hanson said: “It is impossible to tell how deep water is or the condition of the ground beneath.
“Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Vehicles can float away in just two feet of water.
“If you do see floodwater on the road, do not attempt to drive through it; instead try to find an alternative route.
“If a road has been closed, it is for the safety of the public and closure signs should be respected.”
Motorists should also be aware of the possibility of branches and other debris on the roads due to high winds.
Further advice to help prevent accidents during heavy rainfall and flooding includes:
- Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks
- Avoid walking or driving through flood water
- Keep children and vulnerable people out of floodwater
- Take care or avoid crossing bridges when water levels are high
- Take care crossing culverts as they are dangerous when flooded
- If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground
- Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary
- Keep an eye on weather reports
- Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause serious injuries or even death
- Do not smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands afterwards
- Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on can cause serious injuries or even death.
RT @WestoverLabour: Homes in St Saviours avenue previously flooded and now sandbagged. SDC are helping residents clean up. http://t.co/ZzJp…— @Bridgwater_Lab 03 January 2014
RT @WebberBus: Esplanade in Burnham-On-Sea closed between the Maddocks Slade junction and the Pier Street junction.— @MercuryKJames 03 January 2014
NEW: Buses replace trains from Taunton to Weston-super-Mare. #Bridgwater.— @NRE_XC 03 January 2014
Update for Northmoor area:
Robbie Williams from the Environment Agency, said on Friday (January 3): “We are continuing to pump water from the Moorland and Northmoor area.
“As well as the two more modern electric pumps at Northmoor Pumping Station, we have also brought in additional temporary pumps to supplement our pumping capacity.
“With levels on the moors continuing to rise, a further portable pump will be installed on site today, to help reduce the risk of flooding to property.
“The extreme high tides we are currently experiencing has to date limited our ability to pump.”
He said Sedgemoor’s Environmental Health team discussed with the Environment Agency last year the possibility of issuing a noise abatement order for Northmoor Pumping Station, following concerns about the noise and vibration caused by the two static diesel pumps.
He added: “We listened to these concerns and voluntarily stopped using the diesel pumps, so no order was necessary.
“In light of the current extreme conditions we have reintroduced the use of these diesel pumps during daylight hours.”
Trains were delayed after a tree fell onto the line near Bridgwater.
There were delays at Highbridge train station on January 3 after a tree came down during the storm.
@MercuryKJames Train isn't clear yet unfortunately. It happened at approximately 14:25. -Ollie— @FGW 03 January 2014
Burrowbridge update: in addition to the 2 electric pumps at Northmoor,EA have brought in temporary pumps Plus portable pump installed today— @DJAFothergill 03 January 2014
The Environment Agency estimates that around 130 properties across the region have flooded since Thursday, while flood defences have protected some 130,000 properties across the country.
It says the risk of flooding could continue throughout the weekend and early next week and is urging people to be prepared by checking their flood risk, signing up to free water warnings and staying prepared to take action.
A spokesman said: "The Environment Agency will continue to work to check flood defences and close tidal gates to protect communities."
Sedgemoor District Council has responded to flooding across the area.
In Burnham, following a multi-agency response to the flood warnings, the council provided 150 sand bags to the Burnham area this morning at 6.15am. Members of BARB helped distribute the sandbags.
An additional 100 sandbags will be available from beside the BARB building for residents in need from 3pm today (January 3).
A spokesman said: “SDC are very grateful to BARB for their assistance in distribution, thus allowing SDC staff to help out elsewhere across the district.”
In Bridgwater a number of Homes in Sedgemoor properties were flooded in St Saviour’s Avenue.
The council says this was due to Durleigh Brook being unable to discharge into the River Parrett because of the height of the tide.
SDC’s clean surroundings staff attended to provide sandbags and help the elderly residents clear up and alternative arrangements have been made to help with their accommodation where necessary.
SDC will be liaising with other agencies over the weekend to monitor the situation and respond accordingly.
David Thompson sent in this photo taken at Old Taunton Road, Bridgwater, to the Bridgwater Mercury.
He said: “I looked out of my bathroom window about 8am this morning and saw the river nearly at the top of the wall. It was very scary.”
Did you know? It takes only a few inches of water to lose control of a car & only 2ft to float it. #floodaware— @DSFireUpdates 03 January 2014
If you’ve been affected by flooding, you can call the Environment Agency Floodline 24/7 for advice on 0845 988 1188
Stay #floodaware keep clear of waves and riverside paths, don't drive through floods. stay safe #UKstorm— @EnvAgencySW 03 January 2014
Parts of the B3227 between Norton Fitzwarren and Milverton is covered by surface water but is passable with care. It is fine on the approach to Wiveliscombe.
No action tonight, temp will fall early evening but will recover as cloud builds. Heavy rain tomorrow but this will clear during the day.— @somersetgritter 03 January 2014
St Saviours Avenue. Photo: Jeff Searle.
Blake Gardens. Photo: Jeff Searle.
Photo: Jeff Searle
Photo: Jeff Searle
Bridgwater's Town Bridge at around 8am this morning (January 3). Photo: Jeff Searle.
The Environment Agency has issued another flood alert for the Somerset coast at Minehead, Bridgwater and Burnham this evening.
Floods are possible for coastal and tidal aread at Minehead, Bridgwater, Burnham and Weston at high tide this evening and tomorrow morning.
The river Parrett at 12.15pm during a brief spell of sunny weather, considerably lower now that it's at low tide.
High tide will be at 8pm.
The South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust says it has attended 13 road traffic collisions this morning.
A Trust spokesman said: "The public can be reassured that all emergency, public and health services are working together to continue to provide a safe and effective service to all communities in the South West.
"However, it is vital that the public think about the most appropriate service for their needs before calling 999.
The emergency services in the South-West have given their latest guidance and advice for dealing with the severe weather.
The following is from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
"Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are reminding people to be aware of possible flooding later today and over the weekend as predicted by the Met Office.
"The service is especially asking motorists to heed warnings not to drive through any floodwater, as it could put themselves and others at risk."
Area manager Alex Hanson said: “It is impossible to tell how deep water is or the condition of the ground beneath.
"Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Vehicles can float away in just two feet of water.
“If you do see floodwater on the road, do not attempt to drive through it; instead try to find an alternative route.
"If a road has been closed, it is for the safety of the public and closure signs should be respected.”
Motorists should also be aware of the possibility of tree branches and other debris on the roads due to high winds earlier this morning.
The service offers further useful advice which could help prevent accidents during heavy rainfall and flooding:
People should bear in mind the following safety tips:
• Don’t walk on sea defences or riverbanks.
• Avoid walking or driving through flood water.
• Keep children and vulnerable people out of floodwater.
• Take care or avoid crossing bridges when water levels are high.
• Take care crossing culverts as they are dangerous when flooded.
• If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground.
• Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or listen to local radio.
• Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels; these can cause serious injuries or even death.
• Do not smoke, eat or drink whilst in contact with floodwater and always wash your hands afterwards
• Following a flood in your home, make sure all electrical circuits are fully dried out and checked by an electrical engineer before switching back on can cause serious injuries or even death.
The wind has picked up again in Taunton.
Flooding in West Quay. Photo: Brian Smedley.
Flooding in St Saviours Avenue. Photo: Brian Smedley.
High tide in Bridgwater on January 3. Photo: Brian Smedley.
The river overflowing at Blake Gardens. Photo: Brian Smedley.
These photos were sent in by Mercury reader James Adams.
He said: "Here is the River Parrett by the library at 7.30pm. Water was high."
Residents at Sydenham House care home in Bridgwater are unhurt after lightning struck the building this morning.
The lightning dislodged some brickwork on the roof, which is being assessed.
A spokesman said: “Everyone is fine, they were just a bit shocked when it happened.
“No one has been evacuated as we are still assessing the small amount of damage.
“We want to reassure families that everyone was unhurt.”
Sam Burton sent in this picture of Watchet this morning.
A list of weather-related events so far in Sedgemoor:
- At least two homes in Northmoor flooded, along with land owned by famers
- Racehorse trainer Carroll Gray evacuated his horses from his Moorland stables due to flooding
- The river overflowed at Blake Gardens and combined with the mill stream behind the museum, flooding the low lying areas around St Saviours Avenue.
- West Quay was also flooded and water had reached the top arch of the Town Bridge by the tidal surge at around 8am on Friday. But by 8.15am the tide had turned and the water receded rapidly.
- Many readers tweeted photos of the storm as the sky was lit up by lightning and thunder. This was followed by a heavy hail shower.
- The lightning damaged the roof of Sydenham House care home in Bridgwater, causing some masonry to come loose.
Blue Anchor too saw a share of big waves this morning.
Photo: Steve Guscott.
The tide at Minehead this morning.
Photo: Steve Guscott.
@CountyGazette burnham beach http://t.co/1KR1dWSMdT— @procoachingjb 03 January 2014
The high tide at Minehead this morning.
Photo: Steve Guscott.
I am so proud of SCC staff. Out in the middle if the night in dreadful conditions delivering sandbags and checking on vulnerable residents.— @JDOsman1 03 January 2014
The number of flood warnings in the South-West has reduced to 48. Find out more from the Environment Agency.
I'm ensuring that all is being done to help with the floods. There'll be a COBRA meeting shortly and regular updates from @EnvAgency.— @David_Cameron 03 January 2014
There is disruption on South West Trains between Honiton and Exeter St Davids due to lightning having damaged signalling equipment. All lines currently blocked.
Bit wet in taunton #GetYourWelliesOn!— @Nathan_Clapp2 03 January 2014
Monday's (January 6) fixture at Taunton Racecourse is subject to an inspection at 11am tomorrow.
High tide overtopping Parrett right bank at Burrowbridge this morning #SomersetLevels #floods http://t.co/m785Cp43kO— @waterlevels 03 January 2014
Western Power says it is currently dealing with outages in parts of Norton Fitzwarren and Wrantage.
The weather may be awful but at least the 2014 Season (and hopefully Summer) is only 100 days away! Stay safe all! #wearesomerset— @SomersetCCC 03 January 2014
Blue sky and sunshine in Taunton now! #prayformore http://t.co/rcIT3VVpZI— @tauntondeanecc 03 January 2014
The fire service says people are "gambling with their lives" if they drive through floodwater.
The warning comes after a woman was rescued from her car when it got stuck on the A361 at West Lyng this morning.
Lisa King sent in this photo from Blake Gardens in Bridgwater.
Lots to do members when we get some dry weather! http://t.co/j35aajHurk— @tauntondeanecc 03 January 2014
The view of Porlock Weir this morning from The Cafe Porlock Weir, sent in by Sarah Dixon.
Sarah Dixon from The Cafe Porlock Weir sent in the picture of the bottom of their garden this morning.
Charlotte Finch sent in this photo from Watchet.
She says: "A stream that runs through Watchet, out to the sea, which usually has very minimal water running through it - this is the deepest I have ever seen it."
Water has collected on the moors at North Curry near Taunton and overflowed across the A361, which has been closed. As a result, the fields at Northmoor are slowly filling up with water.
There are currently only four pumps operating at Northmoor pumping station, two electric and two diesel, but the two original heavy duty pumps are not able to be switched on.
Moorland farmer James Winslade, who is also on the drainage board committee, said: “I know of at least two homes which have flooded today (January 3) after the tidal surge. It’s come from the Thatchers Arms over Burrowbridge.
“I was helping to sandbag properties last night and my neighbour, the racehorse trainer Carroll Gray, has had to once again evacuate his horses because the water is coming into the stables.
“The Environment Agency has brought in two extra pumps to deal with the rising water, but it's not enough. It's still less than what we had in 2012 and we need more pumps.
“If something isn't done soon we could be looking at a repeat of the flooding in 2012, which lost us £100,000 because the fields were underwater. We haven't been able to claim that back and there will be many more farmers in the same situation.”
Sarah Dixon from The Cafe Porlock Weir, said: "It really was quite a thing to see this morning.
"There was so much water at the bottom of our garden, it was underwater. The property is fine because it's on a bit of a hill.
"The surface water is going away now but there is a lot of debris around and muck, it's not nice.
"We're all preparing for tonight as the wind picks up and they're pumping out the properties that have been affected."
We are receiving reports that the A372 between Othery and Aller is closed as well as Broadway Lane in Broadway from the Junction with A358.
Roland Harding, harbour master at Porlock Weir said the tide was on its way out now but that they were waiting for the next dose of bad weather this evening.
Mr Harding said: "I've been down here since 6.30 this morning and there were about five or six properties flooded.
"It was higher than we expected but it's not been too bad.
"The tide isn't as high this evening but the wind will be picking up which means it could be bad again.
"Lots of people came down to help this morning and now we're just mopping out the houses."
One lane is closed on the M5 in both directions between junction 29 (Exeter) and junction 28 (Cullompton) due to a collision and surface water. Delays likely.
Keep up to date on our live traffic and travel page.
High-tide came and went in Burnham without serious local issues. Still praying for any caught up in any floods today. #floodaware— @curatestjohns 03 January 2014
Taunton almost in darkness as rain fills the sky. Photo: Veronica Roach
Thunderstorm in Taunton has drawn our morning stroll to a premature conclusion! Will the next high tide in 10 hours time be as dangerous?— @Tauntonmuffin 03 January 2014
The road to Dunster beach is closed because of flooding. Minehead and Blue Anchor seafronts have reopened but could close again at 5pm, Somerset County Council said.
9:30am Fri 3 Jan 14
Have just driven through the most ferocious storm I can recall in over 30 years of driving that came out of nowhere & hit the M5 around Bridgwater. One minute light drizzle then suddenly a torrential downpour & an intense bright flash that lit up the sky, immediately followed by the loudest thunder I've ever heard directly overhead, so much so the shockwave vibrated right through the car. I kid you not!
Take care out there guys.
Minehead harbour at high water this morning http://t.co/S0o4kXmj6u— @MineheadHarbour 03 January 2014
well, porlock weir is the most flooded I've seen in a good 6 years and it's not high tide yet— @cherylus 03 January 2014
Caroline Clifford, of Mariners Lodge B&B above Porlock Weir, tweeted this picture of water covering Porlock salt marsh.
Most train operators are running their planned timetable today but, depending on the severity of the weather, journeys may be disrupted.
See National Rail for more.
Definitely #burnhamonSEA today! Stay safe - we would rather not be pegs for a rescue today http://t.co/ivTEY37teE— @BOSfoodfest 03 January 2014
We have just had reports that Sydenham House Care Home in Bridgwater has been struck by lightning. More details forthcoming.
This was the scene on the Somerset Levels at sunrise today. Photo: claytonjane.co.uk
@CountyGazette Burrowbridge Roads 5ft under water in places.. Impassable!— @CJphotos1 03 January 2014
People are being urged to stay safe and keep away from the sea.
A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Coastal paths and promenades are highly dangerous with increased risk of being swept out to sea by very large waves. Stay away from the shoreline."
Motorists are also urged to avoid driving through floodwater, with experts saying 30cm of water is enough to move your car.
For flooding help and advice call the Environment Agency Floodling on 0845 988 1188.
Stay safe out there, only travel if essential. Standing water and lots of debris inland on all roads, on the coast it is worse.— @Stubell9 03 January 2014
Still rising. #Bridgwater http://t.co/27xIZxN8tn— @ggeenie 03 January 2014
Another photo from Gary Miele showing sandbags outside of the fish and chip shop along the seafront.
Gary Miele from Minehead sent in this picture of the high tide in Minehead this morning just before 8am.
There are still 14 severe warnings in place for the South-West and 61 flood warnings.
The Environment Agency said yesterday a low pressure weather system approaching from the west will result in a positive tidal surge over the next 48 hours.
People - especially those in seafront properties in Minehead, Blue Anchor, Porlock, Dunster, Brean and Burnham - are being urged to prepare for possible flooding.
Somerset County Council closed seafront roads in Minehead and Blue Anchor from 6am today and they will close again at 5pm.
Oh my God, that lightning hit really close to the office and seemed to set off a car alarm, now there's heavy hail in Bridgwater— @MercuryKJames 03 January 2014
SOMERSET has escaped widespread flooding this morning (January 3) because winds have not been as strong as feared, but towns and villages west of the county have been hit.
The tide at Porlock Weir spilled over and high water levels have also been reported in Minehead.
Many seafront roads are closed, including at Minehead, Blue Anchor and Burnham.
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