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Town braced for worst as the rivers rise

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

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Tons of sandbags were handed out to desperate residents in flood-hit Tewkesbury yesterday as Gloucestershire continued to be besieged by flooding.

Tewkesbury Borough Council was using around a ton of sand every 15 minutes to distribute bags to residents.

Although fears of further flooding in the town were temporarily allayed yesterday, people were bracing themselves for more heavy rain overnight.

River levels reduced dramatically yesterday, but flood warnings remained in place along the Severn and Avon as the Met Office predicted heavy rainfall during the early hours of this morning.

Roads closed on Monday due to flooding re-opened yesterday morning after water receded from some of the worst-hit areas.

But warnings were placed on other major roads, including the A417 in Gloucestershire. Some schools in the area, were closed and were set to remain that way until flooding subsides.

Council teams are prepared for more flooding and are mobilising sandbags across the county.

Rescue workers for the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) were called into action to deliver food to stranded residents in the village of Tirley near the River Severn between Tewkesbury and Gloucester.

A spokeswoman for Tewkesbury Borough Council said: "We're filling approximately a ton of sand every 15 minutes and making regular deliveries of sandbags to the three points in Tewkesbury – our council offices, Tewkesbury School and Tewkesbury Baptist Church.

"We're in regular contact with all communities affected to ensure they have the support they need. Our multi-agency offices are proving to work very well. We worked with police to deliver sandbags to a vulnerable man in Walton Cardiff Village so he could remain in his home."

Tewkesbury resident John Badham said that, although the worst of the flooding had subsided for a time yesterday, he remained concerned.

"The floods have gone down but we're expecting more to come.

"I was convinced that the water would flood into our home but now I'm not so sure.

"We'll continue to prepare for more rain. In my experience, we've not had it this bad since 2007."

Elsewhere in the county, rescue workers for the RSPCA had to check on two marooned horses near the St Oswald's Retail Park in Gloucester.

Yesterday, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said more could be done to improve the national infrastructure to resist flooding.

Professor Will Stewart said: "Engineering can do a lot to help us cope with flooding, and other effects of climate change.

"Greatly improved flood modelling and much better communications has helped provide warnings that may have saved lives and reduced damage. But from an engineering perspective the real challenge is the critical long-term management of our national infrastructure."

Concerns over the county's water supply were allayed by Severn Trent Water which said flooding would not breach defences at its Mythe water treatment facility as it did seven years ago.

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