Communities in southern, south west and central England remain at risk of flooding, with further heavy rain expected to affect the country on Friday and into Saturday.
Continued heavy rainfall means that flooding will remain for several days. Although water levels may fall throughout today, they are expected to rise again on the Thames and Severn, affecting places already experiencing flooding.
Windsor, Maidenhead and communities along the Thames in Surrey remain at high risk of flooding from the River Thames today and Friday – with significant flooding of homes and businesses expected. The Thames has recorded some of its highest levels for 60 years.
Continued high flood risk
There is also continued high flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors where a major operation to pump away floodwater is taking place, and a high risk of coastal flooding for Dorset.
In Winchester, teams from the Environment Agency have been on the ground creating a temporary flood storage area to cope with levels on the River Itchen, and help protect homes and businesses.
The Environment Agency is urging residents in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, West Berkshire and Reading, along with communities on the River Severn in Worcestershire, to remain vigilant and take action, where possible, to protect themselves and their properties.
Overnight saw some of the highest levels at Bewdley, Worcestershire, but temporary barriers were deployed by Environment Agency staff, helping to protect 250 properties.
The Environment Agency has teams out on the ground across the country making sure blockages are removed from rivers, supporting the deployment of sandbags by local authorities, and working to put up temporary defences.
Flood schemes have defended more than 1.3 million homes
To support the ongoing response to the extreme weather and extended flooding, additional temporary flood defences have been ordered from Sweden and the Netherlands to ensure as many communities as possible are protected.
As of 13:00 on Thursday 13 February the Environment Agency has 16 severe flood warnings in force, as well as 128 flood warnings.
Since the beginning of December, flood schemes have defended more than 1.3 million homes and businesses and protected nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland across England. In the same period, 5,800 properties have flooded as a result of the extraordinary series of weather storms.
The Environment Agency’s flood scheme in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, which was completed in 2012, is working well and protecting the town from flooding.
In November 2013 the Environment Agency completed construction of the Newbury, Berkshire Flood Alleviation Scheme which is currently helping to protect 381 properties and 69 commercial properties in the area.
Working around the clock
Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of Environment Agency, said:
“We are continuing to see the very real and devastating impacts that flooding can have on communities and business. We know the distress that flooding can cause and are doing everything we can to reduce the impacts.
“Some communities will see a brief respite today, but unfortunately the risk of flooding will continue. We ask people to remain vigilant and take action were necessary. We expect to see river levels rising again with more rain forecast for Friday and Saturday.
“Environment Agency teams are working round the clock to help protect homes, businesses and communities. By clearing blockages from rivers, and deploying temporary defences we have helped to protect homes which may otherwise have seen flooding.
“I urge the public to sign up to our receive free flood warnings, check their flood risk, and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Environment Agency website and on social media using #floodaware.”