Homes and businesses under water in Bewdley as parts of Black Country see snow

Flood barriers in Bewdley were breached overnight as flooding from the River Severn continues to disrupt the region.

River Severn flooding in Bewdley on Saturday
River Severn flooding in Bewdley on Saturday

Riverside residents woke to find the nearby area flooded on Saturday morning, with some people in Stourport and Bewdley evacuated as a result, while over in the Black Country and Birmingham many people woke to see a light layer of snow.

It is the second time in 12 months that the River Severn has seriously flooded, with the floods last year bringing misery for residents just before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the UK.

The temporary flood defences in Bewdley were installed earlier this week in a bid to protect homes and business in the aftermath of Storm Christoph.

But the full impact of the swelling river arrived at the start of the weekend as the barriers on Beales Corner were breached and water spilled onto nearby roads.

An aerial view of the flooding in Bewdley. Photo: Dave Throup/Environment Agency
River Severn flooding in Bewdley on Saturday
River Severn flooding in Stourport on Saturday

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Overnight the temporary defences at Beales Corner in Bewdley had been compromised which resulted in a number of properties being flooded. We are in the process of confirming the number of properties flooded and will continue to support those impacted.

“We’ve been working with the emergency services and partners to support the local community. We have teams working around the clock maintaining flood defences, pumping water and monitoring river levels.

Flood warnings remained in place along the length of the River Severn on Saturday - including at Bewdley, Blackstone and Stourport, up river in Shropshire and down river in Worcestershire.

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The river was peaking at around 5.4m (17ft 8in) in Bewdley on Saturday - just lower than the level recorded in February last year - but the water level is expected to stay high for several days. The highest level ever recorded in the town was 5.56m in November 2000.

Nearby Stourport has also been badly flooded, with the fun fair fully under water and residents evacuated from Severn Caravan Park where two people had to be rescued by firefighters on Friday.

While River Severn areas were flooded, there was snow in Stourbridge on Saturday. Photo: @sabphotos69
River Severn flooding in Stourport on Saturday

The flooding is causing disruption to traffic in Bewdley town centre, with a number of main roads closed.

Jon Fraser, of Worcestershire County Council's highways team, said: "Overnight in Bewdley, the temporary flood defences at Beales Corner were compromised. Consequently there is a full closure of Bewdley bridge.

"It is not accessible for pedestrians or cyclists as well as cars.

"There is going to be a free pedestrian shuttle bus that will run between Wribbenhall and Bewdley, which will run all day until there is no longer a demand for it

"Pick up points are in Load Street in Bewdley and the junction of Queensway in Wribbenhall.

"Bewdley Bypass is fully open and the Stourport bridge. But here are closures on the Switchback between Bewdley and Stourport."

Environment Agency workers examine the flood barriers in Bewdley
River Severn flooding in Bewdley on Saturday

A spokesman from Wyre Forest District Council, added: "Please stay away from the flooded area.

"A number of caravan parks in Stourport have also been affected and we have assisted a small number of people who required accommodation.

"Please do not enter flood water in a vehicle."

Anyone in the affected areas has been advised to move possessions and valuables off the ground or to safety and have a bag ready with vital items like medicines and insurance documents.

Local MP Mark Garnier said: "Another year, another flood in Bewdley. Very concerned that the temporary barriers gave way at midnight, ahead of the flood over topping. A permanent solution is coming."

An aerial view of the flooding in Bewdley. Photo: @sabphotos69
River Severn flooding in Stourport on Saturday

Flooding has also badly affected parts of Shropshire including Ironbridge, Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury, with roads submerged and homes under water.

The Severn had been rising steeply since Storm Christoph brought heavy rain at the start of the week and started spilling over its banks from Wednesday, with Mid Wales the first area to be badly flooded on Thursday.

Riverside areas along the Severn in Shropshire then began to bear the brunt on Thursday evening and Friday morning - with water levels almost reaching the heights of last year's devastating flooding and covering nearby fields and parkland.

In Worcester, at-risk householders are being contacted by the city council and offered rest-centre accommodation.

The River Severn peaked in Ironbridge on Saturday
Flooding along the River Severn in Bridgnorth

This weekend the wet conditions will be replaced by freezing temperatures, prompting a yellow weather warning for snow and ice across all of the Midlands and much of the UK until shortly before midday on Saturday.

Met Office chief forecaster Steve Willington said cold air from Iceland and the Arctic will bring with it “a mix of wintry hazards across the UK”.

He said: “In clearer conditions, overnight ice will remain a hazard, while a band of snow is likely to bring falls of 1-3cm quite widely across central areas of the UK, particularly the Cotswolds and higher ground in the East Midlands on Sunday.

“But snow outside these areas is also a potential hazard.”

Rain is set to return next week, with the Met Office warning wet weather could “compound” the impacts felt in parts of the country already and Environment Secretary George Eustice saying it gives cause for concern at the potential for further flooding.

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