Worcestershire weather: Schools, roads shut by floods

A number of riverside roads in Evesham flooded

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More than a dozen roads were shut and 17 schools fully or partially closed after floods hit Herefordshire and Worcestershire on Thursday.

In Evesham the River Avon burst its banks, flooding riverside properties and closing the Waterside road.

Bridges at Pershore, Eckington, Fladbury and Besford remain closed, along with a number of other roads, Worcestershire County Council said.

The Environment Agency issued seven flood warnings.

BBC trainee Ross McCoughlin, 23, was staying at the Northwick Hotel in Evesham and said flood water meant guests had been "stuck" in the morning.

He said: "When I came down to breakfast the road was gone and it's now a river. It was quite a shock seeing ducks coming up to the front door."

The hotel said the river levels had fallen throughout the day and guests could now access the rest of the town.

Wychavon District Council said sandbags were available to residents from the Evesham contact centre, the lido car park in Droitwich Spa and the civic centre in Pershore.

Flooded riverside properties in Evesham Dave Throup, from the Environment Agency, praised the design of some riverside properties

Dave Throup, from the Environment Agency (EA), tweeted that Evesham was "coping well with flooding" and that some riverside properties had been "well designed".

Mr Throup said: "The river levels are probably the highest we've had since 2007 but to put it into context we are about two metres lower than we were then."

Mohan Rahman, whose restaurant is on Waterside in Evesham, said that as he drove to work he was "hoping and praying" that the floods would not be as bad as those in July 2007.

"We had about 40 people booked in but unfortunately because of the road being blocked and the rain itself pouring down we don't know what's going to happen so we can't really open," he said.

Evesham Rowing Club was forced to cancel a regatta for the third time this year, which chairman John Lomas said would cost the group £10,000.

'Calmer day'

Flood alerts have also been issued on the Wye, Frome and Lugg in Herefordshire, which were expected to peak overnight, the EA said.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, forecasting heavy rain and winds of up to 60mph.

Midlands Today weather forecaster Shefali Oza said heavy rain was expected to continue overnight, moving eastwards across the region.

She said winds were expected to die down and Friday was expected to be a much drier and calmer day.

Start Quote

The rivers are becoming more of a concern as they are full now”

End Quote Dave Throup Environment Agency

Hereford Fire and Rescue Service advised motorists to drive carefully and avoid going through fords where water levels are higher than usual.

West Mercia Police tweeted a warning to take extra care in the poor driving conditions.

There were reports that flooding had left cars stuck on parts of the A38 between Longbridge and Rubery, in Worcestershire.

Seven fire services from across the South West and West Midlands have based boat teams and high volume pumping equipment at Strensham services on the M5 as a "pre-emptive reaction" to flooding.

Schools closed

Other services stationed at the base include the police, the Severn Area Rescue Association and other teams of specialists in mountain, cavern and water rescues.

Worcestershire County Council's website reported that many schools in the county closed early on Thursday.

Schools in Evesham, Pershore and Worcester were also affected.

The county council said there was earlier disruption to bus services and school transport.

Buses are avoiding villages including Himbleton and Waterside near Evesham due to flooding, the council said.

River Avon at Evesham The River Avon at Evesham was expected to peak in the afternoon

Gerry O'Donnell, Evesham Town Council representative of the Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association, said the worst could still be yet to come.

He said: "We'll be keeping an eye on things; flooding really does affect the town and the worst is usually in the days after the rain when the water runs down from the hills.

"The main concern will be getting people into town, especially elderly residents who use public transport, as businesses obviously suffer if not.

"We're hoping this short spell won't badly affect our businesses though."

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