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SOMERSET FLOODS: Heavy rain expected on Friday
Updated 3:57pm Friday 14th February 2014 in News
This live event has finished
- More severe rain on the way
- Utility firms urged to suspend bills for flood evacuees
- Two severe weather warnings still in place for Somerset
MARY Mackay, who also lives next to the affected stretch of road, is worried that inconsiderate drivers could be making the situation on New Road in Ilminster worse.
She said: "Up here on the Beacon the road has been closed due to serious road 'slumping' - too soon to say land slip but give it time.
"There are cracks you can get your fingers in and it is steadily getting worse.
"But, despite the police road closed signs for the short stretch motorists just get out, move the signs and drive on through. This may account for it getting worse more quickly, especially the lorries driving through - they are heavy.
"The police have been up at least three times to my knowledge to replace the signs and I have not been here all the time.
"We neighbours have also been putting them back too when we walk down to be nosey!
"I hope drivers realise that they invalidate their insurance, never mind adding to the risk of landslip to the homes directly opposite.
"Also if the steep hill were suddenly to give way they would be at the bottom very quickly and probably not the right way up and certainly injured."
NEW Road in Ilminster has been closed over fears of a road slip.
A police spokesman said: "It will be closed for some time, as there is clear evidence that the road is subsiding along a 50- to 80-metre stretch, and is therefore dangerous.
"There are clearly visible cracks, many metres long, on both sides, some as deep as three inches and two inches wide where it is falling away.
"Highways have been notified and are due to carry out an inspection at any time."
DUTCH pumps have been installed at Dunball, near Bridgwater, to help with the flood relief effort (PHOTO: SWNS)
ACTOR James Purefoy, who stars in Sky Atlantic's hit US thriller The Following, is throwing his weight behind the Somerset Emergency Flood Relief Fund Appeal.
They still need you. Now more than ever: https://t.co/2msQJg4IQe— @JamesPurefoy 13 February 2014
Latest community update for the #somersetfloods here http://t.co/7SLUMUx30i— @SomersetCouncil 13 February 2014
PAUL Fuller, president of the Chief Fire Officers Association, visited flood-hit areas of Somerset yesterday (Wednesday) to see the prolonged challenges facing Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.
He said: “The valiant efforts of fire crews in Devon, Somerset and other services across the country, who have been working tirelessly to help those affected by flooding should be recognised and applauded.
“In the face of exceptionally poor weather conditions, they have provided invaluable assistance to people whose lives and livelihood are under threat.”
DSFRS have been involved from the start six weeks ago pumping out properties, setting up ferry services, helping to move people, belongings and livestock to safety.
Lee Howell, DSFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: "I am immensely proud of the efforts of partners and my staff who remain actively engaged in dealing with this incident and in reducing the impact and associated distress to residents of Somerset.
“I am also very grateful for the mutual aid provided by other fire and rescue services who are supporting us locally."
All supplies to #BishopsLydeard have now been restored. Really sorry for the inconvenience. Ellie— @wpduk 13 February 2014
WE'VE had rain, wind, sun and snow in Taunton today - now we've just had thunder.
A POWER line brought down by a falling tree caught fire.
A fire crew from Taunton was called to tackle the incident at Combe Florey shortly before 11am today (Thursday).
They used a carbon dioxide extinguisher to put out the fire at the base of the pole before Western Power attended.
FIREFIGHTERS rescued a couple stuck in their vehicle in flood water in Moor Road, Sutton Mallet, Stawell.
Crews were mobilised from Bridgwater Fire Station at about 11.30am today (Thursday).
Wearing dry suits and using wading poles, they managed to reach the vehicle and assist the couple to dry ground.
RT @WildImaging: Ravi from @Khalsa_Aid chats to Bridgwater volunteers in #Burrowbridge today. #FLAG #SomersetFloods @dredgetherivers http:/…— @neilweekes 13 February 2014
RT @dredgetherivers: We'd like to thank the great British public for their overwhelming support. We have been inundated with messages of go…— @AlisonTarrant 13 February 2014
RT @dredgetherivers: If you would like to donate to help the victims #somersetfloods you can do so at http://t.co/4NQ1EhbLU7 Please RT— @sean_date 13 February 2014
THE Environment Agency is warning people on the Somerset Levels of possible further flooding with heavy rain expected on Friday into Saturday.
There is continued high flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors, where a major operation to pump away floodwater is taking place.
The Environment Agency has teams out on the ground making sure blockages are removed from rivers, supporting the deployment of sandbags by local authorities, and working to put up temporary defences.
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.
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.”
.@stevenmorris20 We hope to start pumping at Dunball at 3pm today, all being well— @EnvAgencySW 13 February 2014
SOME 300 people from villages on the Somerset Levels heard at a public meeting last night of the steps being taken to protect their homes.
Representatives from the Environment Agency, police and local councils attended the meeting at The Canalside conference centre in Huntworth, near Bridgwater.
Melvin Wood, a floods technical specialist from the Environment Agency, gave a presentation on the latest pumping strategy, which aims to move millions of gallons of water from the Levels into King’s Sedgemoor Drain and out to sea.
He also explained how the huge additional pumps and building of an earth bank at Huntworth will help to manage the flow of water.
Concerns were raised by villagers about funding, security of empty homes, difficulty in using the police 101 number, and about the length of time taken for additional pumps to be put into action.
Residents were reassured additional police resources would be deployed “24/7” to protect vulnerable communities and the communication problems would be addressed.
EA area manager for the South-West, Nick Gupta, said the Government had pledged additional cash which would allow dredging, as soon as ground conditions allowed.
There will now be weekly drop-in surgeries where people can speak to representatives from various agencies.
The first will be at the Canalside today from 2pm to 7pm and then weekly on Wednesdays between 6pm and 8pm.
THE Wurzels and Mad Dog Mcrea are performing a benefit show in aid of the flood victims in Somerset.
All proceeds from the concert at The Palace, Bridgwater, on Thursday, March 20, will go to the Somerset Flood Relief Fund and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Fund Institution.
Tickets at £12.50 in advance are available from Strings ‘n’ Things, West Quay Records, Bar Brunel, The Palace; from the ticketline 08444-771000; from www.midnightmango.co.uk or on-line from See Tickets, TicketWeb and Gigantic – booking fees may apply.
AVON and Somerset Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is visiting the flooding silver control centre in Taunton tomorrow (Friday) morning.
She will be attending the morning briefing and asking questions about 101 telephone number difficulties and how the agencies are working together and the longer term plan for residents.
THE Rotary Club of Chard will be collecting to support the appeal for flood relief at Tesco in the town on Sunday (February 16).
RT @stevenmorris20: Somerset Levels - they're hoping to get these giant pumps working today to ease the flooding. http://t.co/eMQocfwX4i— @MusgroveWillows 13 February 2014
CALLS have been made today for utility companies to suspend the bills of flood victims who have had to leave their homes.
Somerset County Council yesterday announced flood evacuees would not have to pay the authority's portion of their overall council tax bill until they are safely able to return home.
And the council's leader John Osman, has now backed calls for utility firms to do the same after meeting with members of the Flooding on the Levels Action Group yesterday.
Cllr Osman said: “It was clear from talking to people in Somerset who have been directly affected by the flooding, and particularly FLAG, that this was a really good idea.
“I’ve heard stories that some people who have been forced out of their homes have faced hefty bills or have been asked to pay hundreds of pounds to suspend a service. That is not fair.”
Speaking on BBC Somerset earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron called on firms to be “socially responsible” concerning flood victims.
Cllr Osman added: “As a council we took the lead by offering to waive the county council part of homeowners’ council tax bill for everyone stranded or unable to live at home.
“We called on other councils and businesses to follow suit, and I’m delighted to hear that our Prime Minister feels the same.”
BROADGAUGE Business Park, in Bishops Lydeard, is reported to be without power.
ALL homes in Bishops Lydeard are currently without power after a tree in Lydeard St Lawrence fell and hit power lines.
It is estimated that power will be restored to the area at 3pm today earliest.
RT @SomersetCouncil: We have just updated our map of roads that have been affected by #somersetfloods on the levels and moors http://t.co/f…— @MCS_VC 13 February 2014
MOTORISTS could face delays in Ilminster after a section of the Puckington road appears to be subsiding.
Somerset County Council highways staff are at the scene at Cemetery Hill.
A spokesman said: "There are signs of a road slip and traffic lights are being deployed."
Drivers are reportedly being stopped at the Dillington entrance.
THERE are reports of "heavy snow" at Wheddon Cross and Ralegh's Cross - the gritter is reportedly on the way.
RT @SomersetCouncil: Progress on the Somerset Levels and Moors 20 Year Action Plan #somersetfloods http://t.co/BxjBnDjRRj— @TDBC 13 February 2014
Wondering whether there is a #powercut in a certain area? You can check by visiting our live power cut map, here: http://t.co/MR5mtynfIU— @wpduk 13 February 2014
AREAS along South-West England are at risk of more flooding from rising river levels and groundwater.
Flood warnings and alerts remain across the South of England, with the Somerset Levels and communities along the Thames at high risk of flooding.
Public Health England is providing information on the potential health impacts before, during and after a flood as well as advice and support on the response and recovery.
If a flood has been forecast, pack a ‘flood kit’ in case you need to leave your home - remember phone numbers, insurance documents, bank cards and money; medicines and medical devices, hearing aid batteries, glasses and contact lenses; clothing, toothbrush and personal items. If you have a baby, pack nappies, clothing and baby food.
Prof Virginia Murray, PHE head of Extreme Events and Health Protection for PHE, said: “If flooding has been forecast where you live, listen to local radio or check the Environment Agency and Met Office websites for updates and news.
“Take action if flooding has been forecast in your area. Phone Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188 or your Local Authority if you have questions.
“If you have been flooded, or live near a river in flood remember that accidents happen in fast flowing floodwater so avoid walking or driving in or anywhere near floodwater.
In coastal areas and on paths near the sea keep well away from the edge as large waves and strong winds can easily sweep you off your feet.
“Water sports in swollen or fast flowing flooded rivers or in stormy sea conditions can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided.”
If your home has been damaged by floodwater, consider staying with friends or family, or ask your local authority to help you find alternative accommodation.
Only consider returning to your home when essential repairs and cleaning have been completed.
Do not let children play in floodwater and take care if you or your family must go into flood water as there could be hidden dangers like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution.
Wash your hands regularly. If water is not available use hand sanitising gel or wet wipes.
It’s important when cleaning up after a flood to never use outdoor petrol or diesel generators indoors even in the event of a power cut.
The exhaust fumes may contain carbon monoxide which can kill in a confined space such as a home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
Also, after being flooded, remember not to turn on gas or electrics until they have been checked by a qualified technician.
Avoid eating food that has touched flood water or fresh food that has been in the fridge. Clean all work surfaces before and after preparing food.
RT @cllrjaybaker: Pls spread the word about donating to @Somerset_CF this is where to donate & for people to get money to help them,lots ar…— @susannahmh 13 February 2014
AND now it's snowing in Taunton and Bridgwater!
THIS five-day weather map from the Met Office suggests things are going to get worse tomorrow and Saturday.
The areas in yellow are those where weather warnings are in place.
READER Keith Rendell sent this picture from the A39 at Bawdrip to us via Facebook.
ENGINEERS from Western Power Distribution have been working through the night to restore power in affected parts of Somerset.
Parts of Taunton were affected last night, and there have been further reports that areas of Wellington also lost electricity.
This tweet from WPD came in the early hours of this morning.
We've now restored supplies to #Wellington #TA21. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Andi— @wpduk 13 February 2014