Bewdley residents evacuated with flood barriers expected to be overwhelmed
Bewdley residents are being evacuated from their homes with the River Severn expected to overwhelm flood barriers today.
Further severe flooding is predicted as the effects of successive storms are felt along the length of the Severn. On Tuesday morning the Environment Agency announced the end of its maintenance work and warned there is "no guarantee" the temporary flood barriers will continue to hold.
Barriers were installed by the Environment Agency over the weekend at Beales Corner to help protect nearby properties from the threat caused by Storm Franklin.
But a severe flood warning – which means a threat to life – was issued as residents in the area were told to evacuate.
34-year-old Stuart Birch has not evacuated his property, but flood water has broken through a flood barrier he has erected.
The chef who works for Wolverhampton Wanderers said: "We stayed in our property overnight and you can hear the pump going constantly.
"In previous years the water has come up to the flood gate but not gone over it.
"We've just got our fingers crossed that nothing bad happens and the situation doesn't get any worse."
The river level is expected to reach 5.1m at Wribbenhall in Bewdley by Wednesday afternoon. The defences have about one metre of water against them currently.
A statement warning about the flooding said: "Severe flooding is expected today (Tuesday). There is a danger to life.
"The Barriers at Beales Corner are operational and have approximately one metre of water against them. All EA maintenance activities will now stop and the site will be fully evacuated behind the defences. Residents must evacuate from behind the defences due to the risk.
"The risk remains as the barrier system is a temporary structure which cannot be guaranteed to perform. The barriers are forecast to exceed their capacity today."
The warning came amid disruption and incidents across the region on Monday which saw trees crashing down onto pubs, houses, and even onto cars.
The damage also caused one pub – the Bell and Bear Inn on Gorsty Hill Road in Rowley Regis – to close down after a large tree came down on Sunday.
And there is no timescale for when it will be able to reopen as the manager of the pub waits to hear back from owners about the issue.
However, The Mug House Inn & Restaurant on Severn Side North is still busy with regulars, who are happy to visit come rain or shine.
Bar supervisor Jessica Hewitt said: "We're still open. Our side of the river has eight foot defence barriers, so we have no flooding.
"There's some water outside the front of the pub, but definitely nothing constituting flooding.
"We're still busy - people are coming in and they don't seem phased.
"But we are getting lots of calls from people who are asking if we're still open."