River Avon flooding: Schools, roads and hospital shut

Media caption,
Residents in Evesham 'afraid' as floodwaters rise

Dozens of schools and a hospital have closed as river levels continue to rise in part of the West Midlands.

Evesham Community Hospital closed to new patients and shut its minor injuries unit as floodwater rose on surrounding roads on Friday afternoon.

The River Avon in Evesham reached its highest level since 2007, flooding homes and businesses.

Rail services have mostly returned to normal after disruption on Thursday.

Image caption,
The River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon was expected to peak on Friday night

Services have been suspended between Shrewsbury and Welshpool and Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester Shrub Hill due to flooding.

The hospital said it was closing due to flooding on the roads and an anticipated rise in river levels. Family and friends have been asked not to visit.

Waterside Day Centre and Dental Access Centre are also shut.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued about 100 people in a 24-hour period, many from cars stranded in floodwater.

Image caption,
Firefighters helped to get Trevor Reek get out of his Evesham home

Trevor Reek, who is in his 70s, had to be rescued from his Evesham home by firefighters.

"I couldn't get out on my own, I tried that earlier on and it is too deep for me to wade through, even with my waders on," he said.

He said he packed some belongings and called for help.

The River Severn in Worcester is yet to reach its peak which is expected to happen on Saturday, the Environment Agency said.

The county council said traffic management measures would be introduced in New Road in the city in case of further flooding over the weekend.

Image caption,
Flood defences have been put up in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time since the town got them in 2017

In Croxton, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to rescue a child and an adult from a vehicle stuck in floodwater at 08:56 GMT.

Schools in Pershore, Evesham, Malvern and Upton in Worcestershire also closed because of flooding.

Media caption,
Group commander George Marshall, from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said his teams had rescued more than 100 people

Angie Crump, who runs a shop in Pershore, said water was covering Pershore Bridge as she drove in from her home in Evesham.

"When I left the shop at 17:00 last night, I would say the water was about a metre under the arches, today it is right over the top," she said.

The bridge has since been closed to traffic.

Image source, @bexterragga
Image caption,
Roads have been closed due to flood water, including Ford Lane in Droitwich
Image source, Angie Crump
Image caption,
Pershore Bridge has been closed due to flooding

The Environment Agency said the River Avon in Stratford-upon Avon, Warwickshire peaked at 19:00, with levels of 1.9m (6ft) - almost 1m (3ft) above normal levels.

Flood barriers have been put up in the town for the first time since they were introduced in 2017.

The River Avon in Evesham will peak at about 4m (13ft) between Friday evening and into Saturday, the agency said.

Image caption,
Properties in Stratford-upon-Avon are at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency says

Karen Smith, who was walking her dog at the Stratford Recreation Ground, said: "The water has broken the banks and it has come much further across the fields than I have seen it in years."

Three schools in the county were closed due to the weather, with roads also affected.

The Environment Agency said areas around the River Avon in Worcestershire and Warwickshire were expected to be affected by flooding until Monday.

In the West Midlands, it said 5,713 properties had been protected by flood defences.

"Our incident rooms remain open 24 hours a day and we are continuing to work closely with local authorities and partners," Kate Marks, flood duty manager for the agency, said.

Image source, Chris Bainger / Environment Agency
Image caption,
Flood barriers have been put up at Frankwell Car Park in Shrewsbury

In Hereford, the River Wye was also set to peak overnight on Friday, with the county council reporting some problems with school bus services.

There are no current warnings for the Birmingham area, but five flood alerts remain.

There was still some water on the roads around the Black Country, with Wigmore Lane in West Bromwich, flooded.

Two flood warnings in Staffordshire, including for the Bourne Brook at Hints and Drayton Manor Park, have now been lifted.

Image caption,
Wigmore Lane in West Bromwich was flooded on Friday

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