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SOMERSET FLOODS: More rain and strong winds to hit county
Updated 10:08pm Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News
This live event has finished
- Amber warning of wind issued.
- 80mph gusts could hit coastal areas.
- Public told to be prepared for further travel disruption.
You can check for power cuts by entering your postcode into our power cut map http://t.co/MR5mtynfIU— @wpduk 12 February 2014
THE incident causing huge tailbacks on the A39 near Bridgwater earlier (see 3.20pm updates for dramatic photos) has been resolved.
The tree has been cleared and traffic has returned to normal.
THOUSANDS of homes throughout the South-West are without power.
We have received reports that parts of Taunton and Minehead are affected.
This tweet is from Western Power Distribution.
We have restored all supplies in the #BishopsHull #TA1 area. Thank you for your patience and apologies for any inconvenience caused. Rhian— @wpduk 12 February 2014
THE news of the devastation left by the ongoing floods in Somerset is continuing to attract attention from across the globe.
Jonathan Cooter, says his friend in Novosibirsk, Siberia, emailed him to say: "I have seen the news about flooding in the South West of England.
"It is really awful to be in this situation. It’s a pity that the problem is not only in the weather but in your government and lack of funds for maintaining the rivers and their drainage."
Photo: Mike Lang
Photo: Mike Lang
THE fire brigade was called out to make a chimney safe in Highbridge this afternoon after winds of up to 70mph battered the area.
Photographer Mike Lang took these photos showing crews in action at the address in Burnham Road at around 4pm today (February 12).
A GROUP of determined residents in Moorland are refusing to leave the flooded village in an effort to protect their homes.
The residents, from 15 properties, have formed 'The Northmoor 15' action group and have been facing a daily battle to keep the flood water at bay.
Part of a barrier set up to defend homes in Moorland
MEMBERS of an action group to help Somerset flood victims say they have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support of people.
Bryony Sadler, of the Flooding on the Levels Action Group (FLAG), said they have been working with the people who are putting together a six-week plan which will be sent to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.
Bryony’s home, small holding and car were flooded six weeks ago, her mobile hairdressing business ruined, and her husband, two children and their grandma are living in rental homes week by week just to have a roof over their heads.
She said: “It has been absolutely distressing.
“But we have been blown away by the support and are eternally grateful for everything that has been done, from food to massive hay bails.
“We have enough supplies now but if people still want to donate, they can send money to the Somerset Community Fund.
“Somerset County Council are picking up the supplies and the experts are coming in to take over, we will still be in the background though.”
Bryony said she hoped the Government does not forget about Somerset amid floods on the River Thames adding: “Somerset produces 12% of the UK’s food source so if you don’t look after the source then it will affect the food on the dining room table.”
Bryony Sadler and Stephanie Webster, from the Flooding on the Levels Action Group.
THERE is debris all over the road surface and there have been long tailbacks on the busy route between Glastonbury and Bridgwater.
THE crash happened near Bawdrip.
THIS is the dramatic scene on the A39 near Bridgwater this afternoon, after a lorry collided with a fallen tree.
The driver is believed to have escaped serious injury.
SOMERSET County Council has announced that people whose homes are flooded or cut off because of the floods will not have to pay the county council part of their council tax until they are back in their homes.
Council leader John Osman said: “We recognise that local people affected by the flooding are struggling and under tremendous strain.
“We want to remove one of their financial worries by suspending their council tax charge while they are stranded or unable to live in their home.
“There are some people who are being asked to pay council tax both on their home that they have had to leave under traumatic circumstances, and also where they are now in emergency accommodation.
“That can’t be right and we are reacting quickly to reassure people.
“We are in talks with our district council colleagues to see if they are able to follow our lead and also suspend their part of council tax for flood victims.”
NEROCHE Primary School is the latest school to ask parents to pick their children up earlier.
The school say: "Due to worsening road conditions and some access routes becoming flooded, parents can pick children up early from school today. Our after school has been cancelled for this evening."
@dredgetherivers can't get out #trapped innorthcurry— @cllrjaybaker 12 February 2014
RT @SomersetCouncil: There’s a fallen tree and flooding on the A38 between Musgrove Park and Rumwell. It’s passable, but please take care. …— @NigeWhite 12 February 2014
RT @wpduk: We're sorry for the #powercut in #Wellington #TA21. Our engineers are investigating and hope to have supplies restored as soon a…— @TDBC 12 February 2014
MEMBERS of the Floods on the Levels Action Group have been evacuated from their North Curry headquarters.
People at the scene say there is around a foot of water in parts of the village.
THURLBEAR Primary School currently has no water due to a burst water main and because of deteriorating weather conditions they are "reluctantly" asking parents to collect their children.
Selworthy School in Taunton is closing at 1.30pm and Curry Mallet Primary School ar asking parents to pick their children up "as soon as possible" so they can close early amid fears that the access roads around the schools will soon be flooded.
Lesley Webber in waders outside her home. Photo: SWNS
THE lives of a family from East Lyng are 'a ticking time bomb' after flood water threatens to decimate their home.
Lesley Webber, 52, and her husband Ian, who have lived at the house for 20 years, are on tenterhooks as a four-feet wall of water is held back by 1,000 sandbags and 12 pumps.
Around 20 family friends and six police officers helped to encase the house with sandbags over the weekend.
Lesley also said their daughter Melissa has had to move out to live with friends so she can complete her A-Level studies at Richard Huish College in Taunton.
She told the County Gazette: “Water is starting to come up from beneath the house and without the sandbags we would be underwater so I cannot thank my friends enough for what they have done to help us.
“This house has never flooded in 120 years and normally you have nice views, you can see the trees and the fields but at the moment it is a disaster zone.
“We have sandbags up to the windows and you look out to what is a sea with waves - it is very claustrophobic.
“If you're house floods then you deal with it, you move out, but we are living our lives like a ticking time bomb, just sat in the house waiting to see if the water comes over.”
The couple run an agricultural contractors business and say the knock-on effects of the flooding have been felt by their employees and other farmers who they would have supplied goods to.
ACCESS roads to Ruishton are beginning to flood and the primary school say the school is open but if parents wish to pick your children up early, they can.
THE A358 in Ilminster is partially blocked at the turn for Broadway junction because of a fallen tree, causing congestion to Southfields Roundabout.
PRIME Minister David Cameron has just announced that businesses affected by the flooding will get 100% business rate relief.
SOMERSET County Council has released a list of roads affected by today's heavy rain and strong winds.
- Netherclay – closed
- Comeytrowe Lane – passable with care
- Comeytrowe Road – passable with care
- Ruishton Village has been flooded since early this morning.
- Bradford-on-Tone to Oake – only passable one way
- Bradford-on-Tone, Tone Green – passable with care
- Nynehead, road towards Nynehead weir is clear, but road to Langford Budville is reported as being difficult to pass with small vehicles
- Norton Fitzwarren – Clear, but some ponding water
- West Sedgemoor Road, near Hellands Mead, North Curry, only passable with 4×4
- Tarr Road, Lydeard St Lawrence – road closed after fallen trees have taken a large section of carriageway with it.
- Lydeard St Lawrence – West Leigh Lane – closed (surface erosion)
- New Road/Moor Lane, North Curry – closed
- Cutts Road, East Lyng (to Athelney) – closed
- Burrowbridge to Huntworth – flooding – closed
- A361 East Lyng to Burrowbridge – closed
- Burrowbridge to Stathe – flooded but passable with care
- Stathe to Oath – flooded – 4×4 only
- Shepherds Drove, Burrowbridge – road beginning to flood and is impassable.
- Solomon’s Hollow near Lillesdon – landslip – passable with care and no major obstruction – team planning to clear tomorrow.
- White Street, North Curry – landslip – passable with care and no major obstruction – team planning to clear tomorrow.
- Slough Court, Stoke St Gregory – landslip – passable with care and no major obstruction – team planning to clear tomorrow.
- Church Close, Trull – Fallen tree obstructing carriageway, team en route to clear
- Stream Road, Wiliton – flooding – road closed.
- Sampford Rocks, Sampford Brett – landslip – road closed.
- Dyche Road, Holford – flooding – road closed.
- Road closure at M5 J24 - Huntworth Lane is closed at the junction towards Moorland.
- Lane closure, A38 dual carriageway at Dunball, until 10pm tonight – Environment Agency (EA) installing additional pumps.
- A361 Burrowbridge to East Lyng – still closed due to flooding.
- Roads in and around Moorland, nr North Petherton – Flooding to roads and properties remains. Main road to Moorland now closed but is passable with care. Access is being managed by the Police. Evacuation of properties currently underway.
- Marsh Lane, Huntworth – passable with care
- Ward Lane, Chedzoy between Chedzoy and Stawell – closed due to flooding.
- Bullhorn Drove, Westonzoyland – closed due to flooding.
- Ruggs Drove (Fowlers Plot), Chedzoy – closed due to flooding
- A372 Langport Road (Seven Bends) from Othery to Aller – Road closed due to flooding and EA works. Additional advanced signs have been put out. Large pump brought in by EA is at work.
- Tuxwell Lane, Spaxton – road passable with care.
- Banklands, North Newton – surface water present but passable with care
- Fordgate, Moorland – one access route closed due to flooding. The other access route has surface water but is passable with care.
- Shepherds Drove, Burrowbridge – road beginning to flood and is impassable.
- A372 Pibsury, closed since December 23 and remains closed
- All roads to Muchelney, Thorney closed since December 24 and remain closed
- Oath, closed since the week of January 6 and remains closed
- Long Load Bridge, B3165 closed since December 24 and remains closed
- A372 Othery to Aller – closed. Full closure constructed at seven bends (South Somerset side). Additional signing provided at Langport, junction of A372/A378 Shires Garage, to advise motorists of the full closure at seven bends.
@GazetteDMilli just driven past a large branch on A38 road heading out of Taunton just by cemetary by hospital - branch blocking road— @markcoxphotos 12 February 2014
James Hall and Becky Riley. Photo: Geoff Hall.
A FARMER said his home had been turned into a 'ghost town' after floods forced him to relocate more than 250 animals.
James Hall and his partner Becky Riley have lived at Northmoor Farm, close to Burrowbridge, for around a year but they say they 200 acres of fields have looked like a lake since the start of the year.
Amid rising water levels this week, the couple were forced to move their 123 cattle to a nearby farm on higher ground and other animals to safety way from the floods.
James said: “It has been devastating for everyone who has lost their home and their business because they are all pretty much destroyed.
“By the time the floods have finished they'll be nothing left.”
MIXED reports have come in of a powercut affecting the Galmington Trading Estate in Taunton.
A spokeswoman from U-Drive's central office said: "As far as I am aware, they don't have any power down there."
However Walford Security Ltd, also based on the estate, said the power "had flicked on and off twice for a couple of seconds."
PHOTO: Katherine Langford
THE floods are having a devastating impact on wildlife, according to a Moorland woman forced to leave her home.
Katherine Langford was forced to evacuate her property at 3am on Friday, but has since been back by boat to check on her property.
She said: “It was not flooded at the time, but with the rising water it probably is now. We don’t know for certain but are expecting the worst.”
She added: “There has also been a huge impact on wildlife. Many people have found dead animals and birds.
“When we returned to the village we had a rabbit on our back lawn. I have only ever once seen a rabbit on our lawn before. Clearly it had found one of the last remaining patches of grass.
“Anything not big enough to move on must have drowned.”
Katherine said it had been extremely difficult to find up-to-date information about the situation in Moorland from the Environment Agency.
She added: “People on the ground have been excellent and working really hard but management is clearly lacking.”
This morning I chaired a COBRA meeting on the floods, coordinating the massive relief effort. http://t.co/LaFPmc18RC— @David_Cameron 12 February 2014
GUESTS at the Premier Inn hotels in Taunton and in Ruishton could be forgiven for thinking some staff forgot to get dressed yesterday.
Some employees kept their pyjamas on for the day and they're also holding a coffee and cake sale all week to raise funds for the victims of the flooding in Somerset.
Among those taking part were Sam Mayhew in the Massingham Park hotel in Taunton and Joanna Plachta, Jane Smith and Nicole Gossage at Ruishton.
(Coastal areas could see 80mph gusts. Blue Anchor, West Somerset, is pictured above during strong winds. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.)
STRONG winds are to batter parts of Somerset and the South-West today (February 12), the Met Office has warned.
Gusts of 60-70mph, perhaps 80mph in places, are expected from around 10am this morning through to midnight.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning of wind for the South-West and is also warning of rain late morning and throughout the afternoon.
A chief forecaster said: "Initially, southern and southwestern counties of England are likely to see southerly gales with gusts of 60-70 mph, perhaps 80 mph on the south coast for a brief period.
"The public should be prepared for the the risk of disruption to transport and possibly also power supplies. In addition, large waves are likely to affect some coasts."
There are still two severe flood warnings in place for the region. Those are:
- Salt Moor and North Moor including East Lyng, Burrowbridge, West Yeo, Moorland and Fordgate;
- A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge including the Somerset Levels Basket and Craft Centre area.
There are also 16 flood warnings and 42 flood alerts. Visit the Environment Agency website.