Shropshire towns in flooding danger as River Severn rises

The Boat Inn in Jackfield near Ironbridge, Shropshire.
 The Boat Inn in Jackfield near Ironbridge, Shropshire. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Householders and businesspeople are bracing themselves for more severe flooding as water levels on stretches of the River Severn continue to rise towards record levels.
Flood defences in Shropshire have been breached and in one case moved by the weight of the water racing downstream, and police and Environment Agency officials have pleaded with people to steer clear of the river.
On Wednesday the Shropshire towns of Bewdley and Bridgnorth were feared to be most at risk. The water breached temporary flood barriers at Bewdley and workers were trying to pump the water away from roads and properties.
By Wednesday morning the Severn at Bridgnorth had risen to just under 5.2 metres. The highest recorded level was 5.56 metres in 2000.
More than 3,000 sandbags were handed out in Bridgnorth to residents and businesses. More than 10,000 have been distributed across the county.
Tim Smith, of Shropshire council, said: “We thought we were in recovery but we’re back in response.”
There was some slightly better news further upstream. The water level in Shrewsbury is thought to have peaked but shopkeepers there reported that streets and stores remained largely deserted.
Residents picking up sandbags in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.
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 Residents picking up sandbags in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA
At Ironbridge, the water did not top the barriers but did push them back as 400 tonnes of water per second flowed through.
Moving around parts of Shropshire was difficult, with 30 roads closed across the county by Wednesday.

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The Met Office has warned of further showers across the UK on Wednesday, followed by even more rainfall on Thursday and Friday.
Its forecaster John Griffiths said between 5mm to 10mm could fall on the Severn’s source in the Welsh hills.
As of Wednesday morning, there were severe “danger to life” flood warnings issued for Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.
A further 101 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 146 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, were in place across England.

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