Category: Britain / England

‘Rain like this happens once every 1,000 years’

Steve Bird and Lindsay McIntosh

The full and devastating impact of England’s worst recorded day of rain was still emerging last night as tributes were paid to a policeman swept away by floodwaters while trying to save others.

PC Bill Barker was helping motorists stranded on a bridge over the Derwent in the Cumbrian town of Workington when it collapsed. His body was discovered hours later on a nearby beach.

The Environment Agency said that the flooding across the region was so severe that such an event was likely to happen only once in 1,000 years. The rainfall, on to an already saturated terrain, was the highest level measured in England since records began. Meteorologists recorded 314mm (12in) of rain in 24 hours and flood warnings remained in place across the North West of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The bridge from which PC Barker fell to his death was one of at least four to be washed away. Cumbria County Council issued a warning to motorists and pedestrians to avoid using such crossings as they could be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of homes and businesses were evacuated, many of them ruined by floodwater and mud.

FARGO, N.D. – Thousands of shivering, tired residents got out while they could and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold Friday as the surging Red River threatened to unleash the biggest flood North Dakota‘s largest city has ever seen.

The agonizing decision to stay or go came as the final hours ticked down before an expected crest Saturday evening, when the ice-laden river could climb as high as 43 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.

This photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, shows a helicopter rescue crew“It’s to the point now where I think we’ve done everything we can,” said resident Dave Davis, whose neighborhood was filled with backhoes and tractors building an earthen levee. “The only thing now is divine intervention.”

Even after the floodwaters crest, the water may not begin receding before Wednesday, creating a lingering risk of a catastrophic failure in levees put together mostly by volunteers.

National Guard troops fanned out in the bitter cold to inspect floodwalls for leaks and weak spots, and residents piled sandbags on top of 12 miles of snow-covered dikes. The freezing weather froze the bags solid, turning them into what townspeople hoped would be a watertight barrier.

Hundreds more Guard troops poured in from around the state and neighboring South Dakota, along with scores of American Red Cross workers from as far away as Modesto, Calif.

Homeowners, students and small armies of other volunteers filled sandbags in temperatures that barely rose into the double digits.

The river swelled Friday to 40.67 feet — more than 22 feet above flood stage and beyond the previous high-water mark of 40.1 feet in 1897. In one flooded neighborhood, a man paddled a canoe through ice floes and swirling currents.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker cautiously expressed hope that the river would stay below 43 feet — the limit of the reinforced dikes. Walaker said there was not enough time to build the levees any higher.

Fargo escaped devastation from flooding in 1997, when Grand Forks was ravaged by a historic flood 70 miles to the north. This year, the river has been swollen by heavier-than-average winter snows, combined with an early freeze last fall that locked a lot of moisture into the soil. The threat has been made worse by spring rains.

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Thousands flee Fargo ahead of menacing floodwaters

thames barrier

The Thames Barrier will be closed at 8pm to protect against the tidal surge

Police and fire services were last night preparing to evacuate thousands of homes. Householders were stocking up on sandbags and emergency provisions.

Tidal wave heading for Englands east coast poses extreme danger to life | the Daily Mail

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Floods trap 10,000 on the M5 as Armed Forces are called in

By GLEN OWEN – Last updated at 00:00am on 22nd July 2007 The largest rescue airlift in post-war Britain was under way as tens of thousands of flood victims were caught up in what emergency services described as ‘mayhem and chaos’. As widescale floods forced overstretched rescuers to call in the Army and RAF, officials warned that two of the biggest rivers in the South West were ready to burst their banks.

The torrential downpours, which stretched from South Wales to Humberside, led to astonishing scenes on the M5, with up to 10,000 vehicles left stranded overnight in a 40-mile gridlock.

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Floods trap 10000 on the M5 as Armed Forces are called in – Daily Mail


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