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Severe 'danger to life' flooding warning for Shrewsbury as River Severn rises to record levels

Shrewsbury | Environment | Published: | Last Updated:

Roads are shut across Shrewsbury as the River Severn rises to record levels.

The statue of Hercules in The Quarry, Shrewsbury. Photo: Jamie Ricketts.

A severe flood warning is in place for Shrewsbury, meaning there is danger to life in the town, and warnings are also in place for Ironbridge and Bridgnorth further downstream.

On Monday evening Frankwell and the Welsh Bridge were closed to all traffic at Frankwell Island. Access was in place only for buses terminating at Theatre Severn, University Centre Shrewsbury, and residents and businesses on the Frankwell side of the Welsh Bridge.

Dave Throup from the Environment Agency said an incredible 400 tons of water a second was bearing down on Shrewsbury as the Severn rises.

It was initially thought the river levels in Shrewsbury would peak late this evening, but the Environment Agency has now said it expects the peak to come late tomorrow morning.

Due to the flooding, Riverside Medical Practice is closed and will continue to operate a service from a hub location at Severn Fields Medical Practice.

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NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said those who require medical advice or treatment should contact Riverside's normal number on 01743 36789 and listen to its call recording for further information.

Flooding in Shrewsbury - Monday, February 24

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A spokesman for the CCG said: "If you have a routine appointment for week commencing Monday, February 24, please can you attend our hub location at Severn Fields Medical Practice where you will be assisted by a member of Riverside's team. You may also attend this location to collect prescriptions.

"If you need a repeat prescription please contact Prescription Ordering Direct on 0333 3583509 or use online access if you have this facility.

"Lunts pharmacy on Roushill is also closed again to the public, but patients can collect their prescriptions from Severn Pharmacy."

Flooding in Shrewsbury.

Elsewhere in the county, Clun and Melverley are still badly affected by flooding while the continued heavy rain is causing problems across the road network with standing water on much of the A5.

Several car parks and town centre roads are closed in Shrewsbury as a result of the flooding, including Welsh Bridge, Smithfield Avenue and Longden Coleham, while Shrewsbury College's English and Welsh Bridge campuses are both shut along with Shrewsbury High School.

The Environment Agency sent up a drone to monitor the situation in Shrewsbury.

A statement from the Environment Agency said: "There has been further rainfall over the last 48 hours in the Severn Uplands and Welsh mountains which has caused the upper reaches of the River Wye and River Severn to rise.

"The defences at Frankwell (phases 1-4), Coleham Head and Ironbridge have been deployed. We expect levels on the Severn in Shropshire to be similar to peak levels earlier in February, with the peak expected in Shrewsbury late tomorrow morning.

"Our incident rooms have been open 24/7 throughout the past few weeks and will continue to be so throughout the rest of this week and into next weekend.

"We are attending strategic and tactical command group meetings and working with partners to assess the impact of the rain and we are supporting communities impacted.

"Our operational staff are out checking that channels, culverts and trash screens gates and sluices are free from blockages. They have also been removing fallen trees and debris from high risk watercourses, so that flood water can move quickly through the system. We’ll continue to work 24/7 throughout this period.

"We continue to encourage the public to protect themselves and take action.

"We encourage all those who may be at risk of flooding to remain vigilant and take steps to protect themselves by:

"They can also follow us on Twitter at @EnvAgencyMids to keep updated on the work we are doing. There is information available on our website gov.uk/help-during-flood and from the National Flood Forum nationalfloodforum.org.uk,"

Earlier, emergency services used a boat to rescue a woman from a flooded car in a country lane near Shrewsbury shortly after 12.20pm. The incident happened in St Eatas Lane, Atcham.

Students and pupils see classes cancelled

St Winefride's Primary School has announced it will be closed tomorrow.

A statement from the school said: "The first priority of any school must be to keep its children and staff safe. As a result of advice and information received by the school and the severe flooding affecting Shropshire, and particularly the town centre, we have taken the decision to close the school tomorrow.

"We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, however the safety of everyone in our school community must remain forefront in any decisions made."

University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), located next to the Theatre Severn, is surrounded on two sides by rising flood waters.

It has announced the centre will not be holding classes today, but the Guildhall building will remain open and accessible by foot until 4pm. It will then remain closed to all students, staff and guests until Thursday morning due to the rising flood waters.

Flooding in Shrewsbury town centre. Pic: @WMASHART

"Safety is always first,” said Anna Sutton, provost of UCS.

“We have to consider our commuting students as well as those who live in student accommodation in town.”

“When you look out our windows to the swollen river rushing by our building, we are always grateful for the hard work and efforts of our colleagues at the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council,” said Paul Kirkbright, deputy provost of UCS.

In Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale Primary School has announced it is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Castlefields in Bridgnorth is also shut today and possibly tomorrow.

St Giles in Shrewsbury is closed, though this is due to a 'boiler issue'.

Road and car park closures

The following roads are closed in the Shropshire Council area today:

  • Smithfield Road
  • Victoria Avenue
  • Welsh Bridge (cars can travel out of the town centre)
  • Old Coleham
  • Gravel Hill Lane
  • Berwick Road
  • Longden Coleham
  • Coton Hill
  • Chester Street and Cross Street
  • Atcham to Berwick Wharf
  • B4380 Shrewsbury to Atcham.
  • Raven Meadows
  • Roushill
  • Sydney Avenue
  • Atcham to Cross Houses
  • Children Farm Lane
  • Cressage to Eaton Constantine
Flooding in Shrewsbury.

The following car parks in the Shropshire Council area are closed:

  • Frankwell main and riverside
  • St Julian’s
  • Raven Meadows multi-storey
  • The Gap, NCP and Premier Inn Car Parks

The severe flood warning - the most serious warning which can be issued - said this morning: "River levels are rising at the Welsh Bridge river gauge as a result of heavy rainfall.

"Consequently, flooding of property is expected to continue. Flooding is affecting Gravel Hill Lane, Sydney Avenue, Victoria Avenue, A458 Smithfield Road, A528 Coton Hill, Roushill, B5067 Berwick Road, Chester Street, Longden Coleham, Frankwell and St Julians Friar car parks.

See the latest forecast from The Met Office here:

Monday morning forecast 24/02/20

"Water will also be under the bridge on Castle Foregate. The bus station and access to Riverside medical practice may be affected.

"We are expecting a prolonged peak at Welshbridge of 5.2m to 5.5m Tuesday 25/02/20.

"Further rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours. We are closely monitoring the situation.

"Our incident response staff are checking defences and liaising with emergency services. Please call 999 if in immediate danger and avoid contact with flood water.

People heading into Shrewsbury are being advised to avoid driving where possible, although English Bridge was still open during rush hour and Shropshire Council has emphasised that the town is open for business. The planned London Road closure for BT cable work has again been postponed to help ease congestion.

With the bus station closed, services are dropping off at temporary stops in Abbey Foregate, Theatre Severn in Frankwell and New Park Road in Castlefields.

Shrewsbury Town Ticket Office has tweeted to say buses will not be running from Shrewsbury bus station tomorrow for the game against Tranmere.

The Severn is expected to peak in Ironbridge on Tuesday and Bridgnorth and Bewdley on Wednesday and flood warnings are in place from Welshpool all the way down to Gloucester.

There are also flood warnings for the River Vyrnwy at Maesbrook and Melverley and for the River Teme at Leintwardine and Walford.

In Wales, nine flood warnings and 19 alerts are in place this morning, including for the area around Welshpool and Four Crosses where the A483 and A490 were among the roads flooded over the weekend.

Across England, the Environment Agency has issued 91 flood warnings and 182 flood alerts from Cornwall to the Norfolk coast and from Dorset to the Scottish border.

Although the River Teme in Ludlow is high local people say it is nowhere near as high as it was last week and are hoping the town will escape more flooding.

Julian Cluzeau, manager of the Charlton Arms hotel, perched high above the river, said: "At the moment you can still just about see the weir. It is certainly not as high as last time."

Last week staff from the hotel went door-to-door asking residents flooded out if they needed any help.

An EA spokesman said ongoing flooding is possible for parts of the West Midlands, along the Severn and Wye and also in parts of the north of England, including in the lower River Aire in Yorkshire.

He said: “This rain is falling on saturated catchments where river levels are already high.”

England has already received more than 141 per cent of its average February rainfall so far but the spokesman said it was too early to comment on reports that it may be the wettest February for 30 years.

While the extreme weather should settle down over Tuesday and Wednesday – accompanied with a notable dip in temperatures – the Met Office said further heavy rain is expected on Friday.

The bleak outlook follows more than a fortnight of downpours and flooding that started with Storm Ciara, continued with Storm Dennis and kept going with the weekend’s storms, which – contrary to some reports – have not been named by the Met Office.

This story will be updated throughout the day - please refresh for the latest version.

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