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Flood-hit areas brace for month’s rain in just 24 hours

All bite for now: A family have lunch as barriers hold back water from above their heads in Bewdley, Worcestershire PICTURE: PA

FLOOD-HIT communities still coping with the aftermath of Storm Dennis were yesterday braced for things to get even wetter — with a month’s worth of rain predicted to fall in 24 hours.

Pockets of north Wales, northern England and Scotland were among those in line for further deluges.

The Environment Agency (EA) also warned there was a ‘heightened flood risk’ across the Midlands, while six severe flood warnings — meaning a danger to life — were in place around the Rivers Lugg, Severn and Wye. The lower Avon also remained ‘very high’.

Inland island: Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire circled by water PICTURE: SWNS

Flood warnings remained in 120 places, with a further 150 lower category ‘alerts’ elsewhere.

The Met Office’s Craig Snell said: ‘Hot on the heels of Storm Dennis, we have now got this next weather system coming through.

‘We could be looking at 50-60mm in south Wales, 70-100mm in north Wales and up to 100mm in north-west England. In the worst case scenario we could see a month’s worth of rain.’

‘I’m off for a pint’: Man in waders in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire PICTURE: PA

He added: ‘Ordinarily, 50mm of rain would give us a wet day, but rivers would be able to cope. But the ground is saturated due to the persistent, heavy rainfall so it is causing problems.’

The EA said England had already received 141 per cent of its average February rainfall.

River levels in the Colne, Ribble, Calder, Aire, Trent, Severn, Wye, Lugg, and Derwent all set new records in recent days, it added.

The EA said its teams have put up almost four miles of temporary flood barriers across the country and defences have protected nearly 25,000 properties from the ongoing impacts of Storm Dennis.

John Curtin, EA executive director, said: ‘We expect further disruptive weather today, bringing a significant flood risk to the West Midlands.

‘Flood warnings also remain in place across much of England following rainfall which has led to record river levels in many places.

‘Whilst extremely upsetting, if you are asked to evacuate it is important to do so as quickly and as safely as possible.’

Residents in the Shropshire towns of Ironbridge and Bridgnorth were among those urged to leave their properties, while people in Bewdley near Kidderminster were warned flood barriers at Beales Corner might not be able to withstand the rising water level.

Elsewhere, sections of the A38 near Stafford and the A19 near Selby were among roads closed due to safety concerns. On a flooded road on the outskirts of Upton-upon-Severn, in Worcestershire, a man in green waders unperturbed by the water, was heading into town on foot with an empty shopping bag.

The man — who declined to be named — said he was going to ‘have a pint’ and get some bread and milk. He added the 2007 floods were worse, estimating the water level was around 12in higher.