South West rivers rise to highest levels in a decade after bad weather as buildings remain flooded

  • Watch Max Walsh's report on the poor weather and downpours hitting areas across the South West leaving buildings flooded and river levels rising

Rivers in the South West rose to some of their highest levels in a decade following a spout of bad weather this week - leaving many houses and businesses flooded.

The region has seen a deluge of rain in the past few days, sparking flooding in parts of Somerset, Wiltshire and on the edge of Bristol.

Today (13 January) a river in Bradford-on-Avon was overflowing after heavy rainfall caused its banks to burst last night.

With more rain forecast for the weekend, the Met Office has extended its yellow weather warning until 12pm on Sunday (15 January).

People across the region have been preparing for the flooding this week, but for many, the damage was still unavoidable.

Chris Bowyer, 78, owns a number of river-front properties including a hairdresser's salon that was submerged by floodwater overnight.

Despite being aware of the flood warning he says he was still surprised by the surge of water and said: "I thought it was going to come up but I didn't quite expect it to come up so quickly.

"It's not nice because you know what comes next with the clean-up, repairs and refurbishing.

"You get to a stage where you have to try and not worry about it."

Whilst businesses in the area said they were disappointed the flood barriers had not worked.

James Sullivan-Tailyour, owner of the local Swan Hotel says he was "shocked, gutted and surprised."

He said: I knew that they [the barriers] wouldn't go up but I also knew that would cause problems."

A spokesperson for Bradford on Avon Town Council said: "Bradford on Avon Town Council understands the public's concern. No one wants to see flooding affect businesses or homes.

"However, the Town Council also understands the decision taken by the Environment Agency and the public safety reasons for it."

But the Environment Agency has insisted the type of barriers no longer offer any real protection and will be monitoring rivers across the region in the meantime.

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