High levels of flooding leave parts of UK in 'uncharted territory'

Storm Dennis continues to wreak chaos on the UK, as residents in flood-hit areas had to be rescued from their flooded homes and more bad weather is forecast.

Parts of the country are said to be in "uncharted territory" after record levels of flooding, as seven severe flood warnings remain in place.

Rivers have swelled to "exceptional" levels, the Environment Agency (EA) said and warned that levels on the Rivers Wye and Severn will remain especially high into the weekend, after both broke records this week.

The River Severn was continuing to rise, threatening homes and properties in the Midlands, with fears barriers would be overtopped.

Meanwhile, residents in the Shropshire towns of Ironbridge and Bridgnorth were urged to evacuate their properties, and warned if they failed to do so they could be putting their own lives and those of the emergency services at risk.

  • [What to do and consider if your home or business has been damaged by Storm Dennis](http://What to do and consider if your home or business has been damaged by Storm Dennis)

Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire has been surrounded by floodwater. Credit: PA

On Tuesday night, the Government confirmed owners of flood-hit homes will be able to apply for a £500 emergency grant and exemption from paying council tax.

Both homeowners and businesses will be able to seek 100% relief from council tax and business rates respectively as they start to salvage their properties after suffering the impact of storms Dennis and Ciara, the Communities Secretary said.

On top of the £500 hardship relief for individual households, the Government is also fronting up £2,500 to each business hit by flooding.

And grants worth up to £5,000 will be made available to both businesses and households impacted by the floods to allow them to pay for changes that could help make their properties more resilient in the future.

Mountain Rescue team members rescue Peter Morgan from his house. Credit: PA

Earlier on Tuesday, Mountain Rescue team members in Monmouth rescued residents from homes that are surrounded by flood water, while in Ross on Wye in Herefordshire, residents were evacuated from a care home.

Peter Morgan was trapped in his home in Monmouth due to rising river levels and had to be rescued by a Mountain Rescue team who made their way to his home with a raft and used a sledgehammer to break his back door open before carrying him to the raft, where he was wrapped in blankets.

The River Wye at Monmouth had gone above seven metres by Tuesday morning.

The Wye bridge in the town remains closed, but the severe flood warning has been downgraded to a flood warning.

  • ITV News Reporter Stacey Foster sums up the mood in Worcestershire and the response from the Environment Minister:

Elderly residents had to be evacuated from a residential care home in Symonds Yat near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

The care home was overcome by floodwaters when the River Wye burst its banks and firefighters have been transporting residents by boat and carrying them to safety on dry land.

"The water is approximately five feet deep around the care home itself, it's obviously linked into the river that's close by to the care home, so we are dealing with quite rapid moving water at a considerable depth, and that's why we are using rescue boats," Sean Bailey of the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue told ITV News.

The residents are being taken to a refuge centre in Ross-on-Wye, but some have been in tears and in a state of shock as they are transported from the home.

Also on Tuesday, a warning for the River Severn in Telford prompted the evacuation of around 30 properties as water pressure caused the road surface to crack and levels threatened to overtop the barrier.

The EA said 599 properties had been flooded across England as of Tuesday afternoon, as a result of the weekend's storm.

More than 3.7 miles of temporary flood barriers have been erected across the country and flood defences have protected nearly 25,000 properties from the impacts of the storm, the agency said.

But record-breaking river levels and continued rainfall means further flooding is possible across much of the country, EA executive director of flood and coastal risk management John Curtin said.

"We expect further disruptive weather into tomorrow and Thursday, bringing a significant flood risk to the West Midlands, and there are flood warnings in place across much of England."

Monmouth residents make their way to Lidl in a canoe. Credit: PA

EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Dave Throup said the level of flooding leaves affected parts in "uncharted territory".

There was relief in Upton upon Severn and Uckinghall in Worcestershire on Tuesday morning that flood defences had not been breached.

But Mr Throup urged people in those areas to "remain vigilant".

He said: "There may be some short-term drops in levels but they may well rise again. We're certainly not out of the woods yet, there is quite a long way to go with this flood."

The Met Office has issued yellow weather for persistent rain in Wales and the north-west of England for Wednesday and Thursday, and the north of England on Friday into Saturday.

While two yellow weather warnings for snow and ice over parts of Scotland have been issued for Wednesday.

Severe flood warnings remained in place for the River Severn at Upton upon Severn, Ironbridge and Uckinghall, the River Wye and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop on Tuesday afternoon.

In Wales, there were two severe warnings in place on the River Wye at Monmouth in what Natural Resources Wales called both "defended" and "undefended" areas.

Flood defences in Ironbridge. Credit: PA

Karen Wood, a Bridgnorth business owner, told ITV News the flooding has "brought chaos to everyone in town."

"It's bringing a lot of people in to look at the sheer destruction it's causing to everybody. I believe they are evacuating people out of their homes as they can't keep them safe anymore." she said.

"I think people are shocked because after last weekend's storm, and this weekend, the water had nowhere else to go, a lot of angry residents, because where they do put flood defences, it's just diverting the water to somewhere else, and not really saving anybody."

A woman who was swept away by floodwater near Tenbury in Worcestershire on Sunday was found dead on Monday.

A statement from the family of Yvonne Booth, 55, from the Great Barr area of Birmingham, said: “Yvonne is a very much loved member of our family and we are all devastated by this news.

“We appreciate the continued support from the emergency services. We would like to ask for our privacy at this time.”

A man wades through flood water in Hereford. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister resisted calls to chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, Cobra, to tackle the flooding crisis, despite criticism from the Labour Party.

Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary, said it was a “disgrace” that Boris Johnson had “refused” to visit affected communities.

Heavy rain is forecast in the north of England for Wednesday and Thursday, possibly falling on already flooded areas.

Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said Tuesday will bring a brief respite from the worst of the weather for most of the UK, with sunny spells and showers, but warned areas of Wales could see downpours.

“With the ground being so saturated it’s not going to help the situation,” he said.

“And there’s more persistent rain coming on Wednesday. There will be wet and windy weather across the UK on Wednesday and Thursday… with the heavy rain coming back.”