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Villagers cut off by floods 'may be stranded for weeks'

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

  • Lizzie and John Leach of Muchelney Pottery and neighbours Richard England, Sara and Nick Studley and Tony Grey

  • Andrew Wakely canoes down the road between Thorney and Muchelney. Flooding left Muchelney cut off to road traffic on Monday

  • The River Parrett burst its banks flooding the Westover Trading Estate at Langport on Monday. Residents in the town were warned of flooding by the Environment Agency for the first time in 25 years

  • The road from Thorney to Muchelney

  • Andrew Wakely on the road from Thorney to Muchelney

  • Cabinet maker Ken Seal wades through the water to get to his workshop

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Villagers near Langport could be cut off by floodwater for weeks, a resident has predicted.

Most residents of Muchelney declined to be evacuated from their homes on Monday as floods surrounded the village.

Fire crews called on around 40 homes, some of which were without electricity and water supplies.

On Tuesday, Muchelney farmer Graham Walker said: “We can’t leave. We’ve got 50 sheep and cattle to look after. I think it will take at least a week before I can take the tractor out and it may be three weeks before cars can go through. We just have to put up with it.”

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His wife Helen said: “The water is as high as I have ever seen. The community has pulled together and there’s no one who will be left out.”

One woman who had a medical condition agreed to leave her home when emergency services advised people to leave.

Another resident, Mary Mullineux, said around 10 homes and John Leach Pottery, which have never been flooded before, had been affected.

She said: “We are totally cut off but we have a real Dunkirk spirit here. Most people would prefer to stay. People are managing incredibly well. We’ve done it before but the flooding is exceptional this year.”

Police were advising people not to travel to the village on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: “Flooding has effectively cut off the village and all roads leading into Muchelney are impassable.

“Residents have advised us that they wish to stay in their homes and do not want to be evacuated.

“Emergency services remain in the area. They are monitoring the situation and working together to support the local community.”

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said on Tuesday the road between Muchelney and Thorney was under up to 6ft of water.

He said: “We are hoping the water might start receding soon but there is a risk that when water drains from the Levels the situation in Muchelney will become worse.”

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said the village was still cut off yesterday and travelling in the area is not advised.

Many residents in the nearby hamlet of Thorney had no choice but to evacuate after floodwater crept into their homes on Sunday night.

Jenny and Mike Curtis fled rising water with their young daughters.

Mrs Curtis said: “I went downstairs on Monday morning and there was about two inches of water in my home.

“I put the children in their wellies and went to my mum and dad’s house nearby. I have never seen floodwater in my house before but later there was about seven inches.

“I’m absolutely gutted because I don’t think we will get back in our home by Christmas, but at least we had somewhere to go.”

Other Thorney residents were evacuated to holiday let accommodation at Thorney Farm Cottages.

SOMERSET NOVEMBER FLOODS - VIDEO AND PICTURES

Wednesday, November 28

Photos: A second week of November flood damage in Somerset

Sunday, November 25

Video: Tidal wave of flood water wipes out A361 road in Somerset

Photos: Severe flooding on the A361 and Somerset Levels

Photos: Mid Somerset floods on the levels

Video: Flooding in Bathpool after River Tone bursts its banks

Photos: Flooding as River Tone bursts its banks at Bathpool

Photos: An angry River Frome floods again

Friday, November 23

Photos: November floods cause chaos in Somerset

Video: Village main road turned into river as torrential rain hits Somerset

Wednesday, November 21

Video: Flooding causes traffic chaos and road closures in Somerset

Video: Willowbrook Garden Centre devastated by A38 flooding near Taunton

Photos: Flooding in South Somerset

Photos: Flooding around Mid-Somerset

Photos: Flood chaos on roads around Taunton and Wellington

Photos: Floods at French Weir Park in Taunton

Photos: Taunton floods - police cordon off River Tone areas

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