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Rising water levels trigger flood alerts across the UK

Flooded gardens in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as the river Severn burst its banks yesterday. Photo: PA

Flooded gardens in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as the river Severn burst its banks yesterday. Photo: PA

Residents whose homes and businesses were damaged by floodwaters just weeks ago faced further clean-ups yesterday after more flooding across Yorkshire.

Thirteen separate flood warnings were issued across the Yorkshire region, the majority of which were in York and surrounding villages.

Many of the communities affected have been trying to get back on their feet after serious localised flooding in November.

The Environment Agency said 76 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected and immediate action should be taken – were in force nationwide yesterday.

There were also 109 flood alerts nationwide, warning residentsto be on their guard as floods are expected.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Despite the improving weather conditions, there is a continued risk of localised flooding over the next few days as river and groundwater levels are still high.”

Riverside communities along the Ouse in Yorkshire and Thames are among those at risk, the spokes-man added.

Groundwater levels are high in Berkshire, South Gloucestershire and parts of Lincolnshire and temporary flood defences remain in place along the Severn at several locations including Ironbridge and Upton.

The River Ouse in central York, which has flooded several times in the past few weeks, has spilled over its banks again and is currently more than four metres above its average summer level. Pumps were being used to clear water from pubs, restaurants, homes and hotels along its banks today. Many of the businesses hit were in the process of being renovated and have not been able to reopen since Novem-ber’s deluge.

Residents in several villages along the Ouse to the south of the city, including Fulford, Acaster Selby, Acaster Malbis and Naburn, were either flooded or cut off.

Valerie Brown, who has lived in the village of Acaster Malbis for 50 years, was mopping up dark brown floodwater and silt in her riverside cottage yesterday.

“We were flooded at the end of October, at the end of November, on Christmas Eve it threatened – it came right on to the doorstep – and then again at New Year. It’s been a different New Year. I can’t recommend it. We hadn’t got the house right again since the end of November because we were going to have the walls replastered. We haven’t got that done. The ironic thing is we ordered floodgates. If we’d had them last night we’d have been fine.”

Tourists staying on a caravan site in nearby Naburn said they were marooned, unable to get on or off the site, after knee-high water engulfed roads through the village.

One said: “We can’t move. I was meant to be back at work today but we can’t go anywhere.”

The Highways Agency said none of Britain’s major roads have been closed due to flooding.

The Environment Agency said areas that were worst-affected today, including York’s surrounding villages and Wargrave, Purley and Shiplake along the Thames, should experience an improvement in coming days as the water recedes.

Work is also taking place to ensure that rivers can drain and flow freely in other parts of southern England, including Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, West and East Sussex, it added.

The Met Office said dryer weather is due for the remainder of this week and into the weekend, with less rain expected next week.

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