Flash flooding hits West Midlands
Flash floods brought chaos to the Midlands today, with one man swept to his death, drivers stranded, schools closed and homes left under water. The man in his 60s died after being swept away in flood water in Shropshire as torrential rain battered the region. A 60-minute storm hammered Wolverhampton and the wider Midlands with almost an inch of rain – a third of the amount of rain that would normally fall in the whole month of June. Some schools were forced to close early because of the flash flooding with parents receiving text messages asking them to collect their children.
Flash floods brought chaos to the Midlands today, with one man swept to his death, drivers stranded, schools closed and homes left under water.
The man in his 60s died after being swept away in flood water in Shropshire as torrential rain battered the region.
A 60-minute storm hammered Wolverhampton and the wider Midlands with almost an inch of rain – a third of the amount of rain that would normally fall in the whole month of June – turning roads into rivers and destroying homes and businesses.
Some schools were forced to close early because of the flash flooding with parents receiving text messages asking them to collect their children.
Click here to see further West Midlands flooding coverage
Homes across Wolverhampton were flooded while in Lowlands Avenue, Tettenhall, the carriageway cracked because of the huge downpour.
Street lights in the city were automatically reactivated and switched back on when the skies darkened before the huge downpour.
Parts of Molineux Stadium also leaked, forcing club bosses to send staff home while members of Pure Gym, in Birmingham Road, Wolverhampton, were sent emails telling them it would be shut until it can be dried out.
Ashmore Park Library was forced to close its doors to customers because of flooding while the basement of the maternity unit at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital has been left under water.
Meanwhile, dozens of shoppers were left stranded in the Wulfrun and Mander Centres in Wolverhampton as rainwater swept through the doors and into stores. Among those affected was the new Poundland store and New Look.
Tragedy struck in when the man in his 60s was swept to his death while crossing a stream at Bitterley, near Ludlow.
The alarm was raised at about 10.30am and the body of the man was found at about 11.45am by police and fire officers. He was pronounced dead by paramedics a short time later.
Woodfield Infant School and Woodfield Junior School, in Woodfield Avenue, Penn, shut their doors along with Aldersley High School, in Barnhurst Lane, Codsall, Westcroft School in Greenacres Avenue, Underhill, The Braybrook Centre in Wednesfield, The King's School in Tettenhall, Oxley Primary School in Oxley and Merridale Primary School in Merridale. Classrooms at Whitgreave Junior School in Low Hill have also been flooded.
Motorists were crawling along Ring Road St Andrews in Wolverhampton, which was left under water, while Penn Road, Tettenhall Road, Newhampton Road and streets around Bantock Park were also flooded.
The gym at Central Baths in Wolverhampton was forced to close for the rest of the day, due to the flooding. Council bosses said it should reopen tomorrow.
Several homes in Marston Road, off Penn Road, Wolverhampton, were flooded. Resident Herbert Bennett, 73, said the drains could not cope with the sudden downpours.
The retired production worker said: "All the water from the drain headed straight into our homes.
"It's gone now but left a mess in my house. It brought lots of dirt in."
At Wolverhampton Railway Station, rain water flooded the main concourse of the station, causing the closure of the ticket office.
Meanwhile, witnesses described how the steps at St Peter's Collegiate Church in the city centre resembled a "waterall" during the downpour.
Homes in Codsall and Essington, in South Staffordshire, were also battered by the rain. Station Road in Codsall, near to the railway bridge, flooded, leading to West Midlands Fire Service having to recover a van that had become stuck.
Houses flooded in Leasowe Drive, Perton, devastating residents who have been left desperately trying to clear their homes of water. Elsewhere, the Sue Ryder Care shop at the Avion Centre, in Whitmore Reans, flooded, destroying stock and devastating staff, and in Old Hill, Tettenhall, a wall collapsed.
Wolverhampton Police received 20 calls between 10am and 11am.
By Shaun Jepson