West Midlands families count cost of floods

Heartbroken homeowners were today counting the cost of flash flooding that left them with repair bills running into thousands of pounds.

More than 800 homes were inundated nationally, while motorists had to be rescued from flooded roads.

With more rain expected today, residents are trying to limit the damage after rapidly rising water breached their hastily installed defences within hours yesterday.

Parts of Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, were overwhelmed as a stream burst its banks. Water from saturated fields went onto the main road in the village and into homes.

The Port family were alerted by neighbours at 8am and did all they could to prevent water getting into their large detached house, at the junction of the A513 and Shaw Lane.

Despite barricading doors with sandbags, about an inch of water seeped through brickwork within four hours.

Father-of-two Dale Port said: “We’ve been here six and a half years but we’ve never known anything like this. There’s a little stream nearby which is a tributary to the River Trent and that could be behind it.

“We’ve managed to save some carpets by pulling them up, but not all of them. We’d just had them cleaned. The power went off at 9am but came back on at around 2pm.

“I could do with going out and getting some sort of pump to get the water out but there’s no way I can get my car out – in parts it’s up to two and a half feet deep in the garden.

“I’ve no idea how much this is going to cost us, but it’s going to be a few thousand. I’ve got a horrible feeling we’re not covered for flood damage on the insurance.”

Flooding caused chaos on the road outside his home as scores of drivers tried – and failed – to get through water up to 3 ft deep.

Peter and Yvonne Foster, of Church Lane, Hill Ridware, got stuck in their Ford Mondeo with pet Labradoodles Peaches and Bonny.

Mr Foster, a project manager at Alstom, Stafford, said: “I’ve driven through water before but this is the first time I’ve had a problem. This sort of thing brings the best and the worst out in people. There were people in their 4x4s coming the other way who were driving like idiots, sending huge bow waves up.

“These two lads came and pushed us out and luckily the car started. They said they had already helped another four cars which got stuck and we are really grateful to them.”

The A456 Kidderminster Road in Hagley was partially blocked yesterday while the A448 in Chaddesley Corbett and the A449 in Ombersley were closed.

The A4123 Wolverhampton Road in Oldbury was partially blocked and there were hazardous driving conditions around the Joseph Street junction.

On Saturday evening, there were also flooding problems in Linthouse Lane, Wednesfield and Gospel End Road, Sedgley.

The AA answered about 12,000 breakdowns nationwide yesterday, including almost 700 cases of people stuck in flood water or mud.

Nathan Hudson, general manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said people were putting lives at risk.

“People who attempt to pass through flooded roads are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of the emergency services staff who have to rescue them,” he said.

“A little bit of common sense from the public will ensure that no one’s life is put in any unnecessary danger.”

The Environment Agency said teams were working “round the clock” to check flood defences, clear river blockages and monitor water levels as they try to get to grips with the situation.

Barriers were erected at Severnside North in Bewdley on Saturday and more were installed at Beales Corner yesterday(Sun).

Meanwhile Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service got calls from drivers who came to grief trying to use flooded routes while crews rescued 36 sheep from areas in Stone and Newcastle-under-Lyme yesterday.

Safety

Firefighters from Cannock and Tamworth had to take horses, pigs and chickens to safety as water rose rapidly in fields in Coton, Tamworth, last night.

Problems on the railways persisted for hours before services returned to normal, although some continued to be hit by delays from the earlier trouble.

A replacement bus service ran between Walsall and Rugeley for three hours from 11am yesterday before problems were resolved and trains resumed at 2pm. Passengers travelling between Stone and Stoke-on-Trent faced severe disruption and buses were introduced between Crewe and Stafford.

Up to 15mm (0.6 inches) of rain is expected to fall across central England in the next 24 hours, compounding the problems. However Northern England, north Wales and the South West are expected to suffer the heaviest downpours of up to 50mm (1.97 inches).

Rain causing floods is likely to remain until tomorrow night, forecasters predicted today.

The storms have already caused devastation across large swathes of the country.

A 21-year-old woman was killed and two people were seriously injured in Exeter, Devon when they was crushed by a tree as wild winds whipped southern England. A 50-year-old man also died after falling into a canal in Watford on Saturday.

Kevin Wilkinson was walking with friends along a towpath near Wiggenhall Road in Watford shortly after 4am when it is believed he fell in.

Prime Minister Mr Cameron yesterday wrote on Twitter: “Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country.

“Govt will help ensure everything is being done to help.”

The Environment Agency has continued to issue warnings, although it downgraded its alerts so there are no severe flood warnings. At one point yesterday four were in place as water flooded through villages in Cornwall.

The agency now has now issued more than 550 alerts, including 280 flood warnings. Yesterday Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire were also badly affected by the deluges.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon met people in Malmesbury where three feet of water was reported in some parts of the Wiltshire town.

He described the clear-up work as “heroic”, adding: “While many houses have been flooded, some haven’t because of the efforts of these people.

“The Government’s job, first of all is to make sure people are as prepared as possible with a changing climate for these extremes of weather. Secondly, we’ve got to continue building flood defences.”

The RAC and AA reported surges in flood-related callouts as roads and highways were closed.

Emergency services urged drivers to take extra precautions tackling roads today, after anticipated heavy rainfall.

Gloucestershire Police said they anticipate disruption during the morning rush hour, with flooding possible on routes in and out of Tewkesbury.

National Rail said weather is disrupting services across the South West. Trains were cancelled between Exeter St Davids and Yeovil Junction because of a landslip at Honiton and flooding near Axminster in Devon.

• Have you been affected by the weather? Send your pictures and stories to newsdesk@expressandstar.co.uk

Related articles

Midlands battered by heavy rain and strong winds