River Wye at highest levels EVER recorded as emergency services warn of exceptional danger

The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation in Hereford as River Wye reached unprecedented record levels on Monday. Dave Throup of the Agency told Sky News the situation is truly exceptional after Storm Dennis blasted the country with strong gales and heavy rain showers causing severe flooding. Speaking from Worcester by River Severn, another river dangerously affected by the flooding, he said: “I think it is peaking now in Hereford, the levels you’ve got there are truly exceptional levels.

“They’re the highest levels we’ve ever recorded on the River Wye.

“And those records go back 200 years. So we are talking very, very exceptional levels.

“Here in Worcester, the River Severn is also at a level that is similar to the big floods in 2007.

“So right across the Severn and the Wye we are seeing some really significant levels.”

Record-breaking numbers of flood alerts are now in place in the wake of the storm, after more than a months worth of rain fell in some areas.

The Met Office recorded a total of 6.14 inches (156.2mm) of rain at Cray Reservoir in Powys in the 48 hours from Friday to Sunday morning.

According to the Met Office, the average monthly rainfall for February in Wales is 4.37 inches (111.1mm).

John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s head of floods and coastal management said “the saturated ground conditions” following last weekend’s Storm Ciara has “driven” severe flooding over the past 24 hours.

Major incidents were declared due to flooding in South Wales as well as in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

At the time of writing, the Environment Agency (EA) had issued a total of 515 flood warnings, with five of these classed as severe.

Severe flood warnings are issued when there is severe flooding with danger to life.

Residents in Herefordshire are now being evacuated from their homes and businesses ahead of the River Wye’s expected peak.

Government sources warned residents river levels are forecast to rise even further as a result of the persistent heavy rainfall.

More flooding of property, farmland and roads is expected as the river’s current record now stands at 5.02 metres, beating the October 1998 record of 4.95 metres.

An emergency centre has been set up at Hereford Leisure Centre.

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On Monday, the Government said it had activated the Bellwin scheme to provide financial assistance to storm-hit areas.

Under the scheme, local authorities dealing with the storm’s impact can apply to have 100 percent of eligible costs above a threshold reimbursed by the Government.

Pictures and videos posted online showed flooded streets in Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, with one woman whose family had sent her pictures from the area describing it as “scary”.

Photos also showed the emergency services lifting people to safety through rising floodwaters.

An emergency relief centre has been opened in Tenbury High Ormiston Academy for people affected by flooding.

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