Why did the floods happen?
Heavy rain on 20 July caused extensive flooding across the lower Severn catchment, and in many places river levels were the highest ever recorded. Across Tewkesbury, we recorded around 80-90mm of rain on 20 July, equivalent to almost two month’s rain in just one day.
We recorded record flood levels in Tewkesbury as a result of exceptional flows in the River Teme and River Avon and heavy rainfall across Gloucestershire. River levels at the Mythe gauge reached a peak of 5.43m on 22 July. The previously highest recorded level was 5.3m in March 1947. Normal summer levels are around 0.5m.
Properties were first flooded on 20 July from surface water that could not drain away quickly enough or from watercourses, which reacted quickly to the local run-off (including some main rivers such as the River Swilgate). Further flooding occurred over the weekend from main rivers, including the River Severn, Carrant Brook and River Avon. Some properties flooded twice, first from surface water then from rising river levels. The centre of Tewkesbury town was completely cut off from vehicles as a result of the floods.
The July flood on the River Severn between Upton and Gloucester has been assessed as having between a 0.66 per cent and 0.5 per cent probability of occurring in any year.
Where did the floods take place?
What did we do during the floods?
Throughout the floods we used a number of different ways to warn people of the risk of flooding from rivers. We use a combination of these methods depending on the information and systems that are available in that area. Examples of these are:
- Regular updates via the media on TV, radio and the internet.
- Floodline - information was available 24 hours a day, 7 days by calling 0845 988 1188.
- Live warnings in force were detailed on our website.
- Floodline Warnings Direct - sent warnings 24 hours a day by telephone, text message, email, fax or pager. Register by calling 0845 988 1188.
What did we do to forecast where flooding would happen?
We use the latest technology to monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions 24 hours a day. We can provide local area forecasts on the chance of flooding and how severe it is likely to be. We use this information to know when to issue flood warnings.
How did we warn the public?
We issued the following flood watches and warnings of River Severn flooding:
- a flood watch for the River Severn in Gloucestershire on 20 July at 18:32
- followed at 18.53 by a flood warning for the Severn from Tewkesbury to upstream of Gloucester
- a flood warning update at 21:20 and later a severe flood warning at 05.45 on 21 July
We worked with local authorites and emergency services throughout the summer floods. We attended the multi-agency emergency Gloucestershire Gold control centre.
What impact did the floods have?
How many properties were flooded?
An estimated 810 properties were affected by flooding in Tewkesbury.
How did our flood defences perform during the floods?
We have no raised flood defences at Tewkesbury.
How did the floods impact on our infrastructure?
We provided advice relating to the erection of temporary defences at Severn Trent Water's Mythe Water Treatment Works. This was to enable the site to be pumped dry and make sure restoration work could start.
What did we communicate during and after the floods?
Our staff were out and about talking to people who were affected by the flooding, giving them advice how to deal with the floods. We took part in many media interviews to warn people about what was happening.
Since the flooding ended we held a flood surgery in Tewkesbury on 16 August to gather information and provide advice and assistance to the public. We listened to people’s concerns and answered many questions.
What are we doing in the future?
We welcome any feedback on the information you have seen, or on the event itself. If you would like to do this, please complete a feedback form.