Hereford & Worcester

Worcester city centre roads closed 'for a week' by floods

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Media captionThe BBC's Bob Hockenhull says Worcester is "a city under siege"

Large parts of Worcester city centre could be closed for a week because of flooding, the county council has said.

Worcester Bridge and roads including New Road, Castle Street, Deansway, Dolday, North Parade, Croft Road and Tybridge Street have been shut.

The authority said it could not predict when roads would reopen because of rising river levels.

John Fraser from the council said: "Dependent on further rainfall, it could be closed for all of next week."

"There are a number of preparations we will be putting in place, like the bus service, for example, because access to the bus station is going to be extremely limited," he said.

The council said the only access to Worcester was via the southern link road but it was urging motorists not to come into the city.

The Environment Agency has also shut Hylton Road flood gates in Worcester because of rising river levels.

Dave Throup, from the agency, said the amount of water in Worcester was "verging on the Biblical".

Image caption The county council said it could not predict when roads in Worcester would reopen

"It's difficult to predict how much more worse things are going to get," he said.

"[Levels] keep getting topped up by rain coming down the River Severn and also from the River Teme that's holding a lot of water back as well, so it's probably going to be Monday by the time it gets down to Worcester and Upton."

He said the River Severn level was at about 5.3m (17ft), its highest level since 2007.

'Drains can't cope'

Mary Dhonau, who lives in Worcester, said: "Flood defences only reduce people's risk, they don't take it away, so I would urge people even if they have a new flood defence near them to start taking precautions to protect their own property.

"A little bit of inconvenience now is better than heartbreak if you end up being flooded."

Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption The Environment Agency said roads in Worcester were "practically impassable"
Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption Local people said the drains were struggling to cope with the volume of water
Image copyright Dave Throup
Image caption Motorists have been asked to avoid Worcester City Centre

The Environment Agency said fire crews were helping its teams pump overspill water back into the River Severn on Stourport Road in Bewdley.

It said flood barriers in the town had been extended as river levels were peaking.

Julie Acorn, who lives in Bewdley, said the water was "up to pavement level".

"The problem now is, although the barriers are working absolutely brilliantly, the drains just can't seem to cope which has always been a bit of an issue," she said.

Firefighters in Herefordshire rescued six people trapped in their cars by flood water.

The people got stuck in water in four separate incidents on roads around Leintwardine, Orleton and Walford.

The EA said the River Arrow had burst its banks and water was blocking the A4110 near Leominster.

A number of feeder roads to the A38 at Upton-upon-Severn had also been closed off, it said.

The Environment Agency has issued 27 flood warnings for the Rivers Severn and Avon in Worcestershire and the Arrow, Wye and Teme in Herefordshire.

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