Somerset floods: roads closed and councils on standby as county hit by overnight rain

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  • Some roads still closed.
  • Dozens of flood warnings across South-West.
  • Sedgemoor District Council prepares for possible Westonzoyland evacuation.
  • Villagers critical of lack of dredging.
  • Call Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188

9:16am

For updates from Friday (January 10), click here.

5:17pm

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5:11pm

Villagers in cut-off Muchelney will be helped by a new support boat from tomorrow (January 10).

The flat-bottomed vessel will be able to navigate sunken cars, trees and other underwater obstacles to reach the village of Muchelney from Huish Episcopi.

It has been paid for and provided by Somerset County Council and run by a crew from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.

The boat will be mostly for ‘humanitarian’ use, with priority given to people with health or social care needs.

It is hoped the eight-seater vessel will be able to make three trips a day to and from the island taking food, medicines and other supplies. Residents will also be able to use the service to get back to work and to shop.

Where space is available, it will also be available to help take the half dozen children remaining in Muchelney to the mainland and a drop point just a few hundred metres from Huish Episcopi school.

The support boat will be accompanied by a rescue boat and will not operate if conditions are deemed to be unsafe. The boat will only operate in daylight hours.

3:22pm

A cellar at a home in Wellington filled with six inches of flood water this morning.

Firefighters were called to the property in High Path shortly before 10am.

2:50pm

There are currently 22 flood warnings and 24 flood alerts across the South-West. 

The Met Office says some showers are likely to linger this evening, and these may continue overnight. It says outbreaks of rain are set to spread in tomorrow afternoon after a bright start.

2:47pm

Several roads are still closed this afternoon. Click here for the latest.

2:45pm

1:29pm Thu 9 Jan 14

jjjjjj/mmmmm says

It's time David Cameron stopped sending money abroad and diverted it here in our own country where it is needed most!

1:51pm

Bridgwater Mercury:

Leanne Miller sent in this photo of Grays Avenue

1:49pm

Bridgwater Mercury:

Leanne Miller sent in this photo of Grays Avenue

12:26pm

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11:39am

New Road at West Lyng is now closed due to flooding.

Keep up to date with closures on our live traffic and travel page.

11:38am

11:06am

Now 25 flood warnings and 28 flood alerts in the South-West.

Live flood warnings map here.

10:53am

Missed any dramatic flooding pictures from the past week? Take a look at our online gallery here.

Bridgwater Mercury:

10:47am

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10:13am

FLOODS in Somerset causing “heartache and destruction” are the result of key rivers not being dredged, it has been claimed.

Hundreds of people remain stranded in Muchelney, near Langport, which has been surrounded by water since New Year’s Eve.

The only mode of transport in and out is by boat, with villagers saying water is an astonishing 11ft high at its deepest point.

Volunteers from the Burnham Area Rescue Boat have been bringing in supplies.

Derek Yeomans, Somerset County Councillor for the Curry Rivel and Langport division, which includes Muchelney, said: “Quite frankly, this flooding is the basic result of no dredging having taken place.

“The Environment Agency wanted £1.7million to dredge one bank for four miles and £4million to dredge two banks for four miles and as a result there was not enough money to do any work at all.

“They thought this flooding was going to be a one-in-a-hundred year’s event which has proved to be wrong.”

Cllr Yeomans said £300million ring-fenced by the Government to help tackle flooding was “a drop in the ocean” and that if nothing was done, Somerset could not remain a farming county.

He added: “The rivers need to be dredged and returned to their river profile of 20 years ago, the Brue, Tone, Parrett and Yeo.

“At the moment they are running at 60% volume of what they should contain which means that the other 40% is going over the top and causing huge heartache and destruction.”

South-West MEP Graham Watson, who lives in Langport, said: “We were told last year that the floods around Muchelney in particular were a once-in-a-hundred-year event. Yet, 12 months later, we have even worse flooding.

“It’s time this ended once and for all. We must return to annual dredging of the rivers and banks for the sake of people’s livelihoods and safety.”

On Tuesday, Somerset County Council announced a £250,000 fund for flood victims, and a further £300,000 towards dredging key rivers including the Parrett.

The Environment Agency stopped the annual dredging of the Rivers Parrett and Tone 18 years ago but since then water has nowhere to go, leading to regular flooding.

Spokesman Paul Gainey said: “The tidal nature of the River Parrett and Tone on Somerset Levels means they rapidly silt up and de-silting would only have a limited effect in reducing flood risk in such an event as this.

“Work commenced in November on the desilting of identified ‘pinch points’ starting on the River Tone and working towards the River Parrett to maintain river flow through small scale works.

“This is an interim step seeking to maximise the capacity of the existing system whilst longer term approaches are considered.”

9:54am

Some 26 flood warnings and 29 flood alerts are currently in place across the South-West, the Environment Agency says. 

9:49am

Sedgemoor District Council was on edge last night as it prepared to evacuate up to 100 people whose homes in Westonzoyland were at risk of flooding.

The council set up a rest hall at the community centre and was on standby in case they need to start evacuating households.

But this morning fears of a large-scale evacuation of homes in Westonzoyland have been put on hold as the flooding in the area was less severe than predicted.

A spokesperson from the council said that no homes were evacuated in Westonzoyland but that they are still monitoring the situation.

9:46am

SEVERAL roads remain flooded as Somerset was hit by more rain overnight (January 9).

The A361 at Burrowbridge is closed, as is the A372 at Othery. 

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:29pm Thu 9 Jan 14

jjjjjj/mmmmm says...

It's time David Cameron stopped sending money abroad and diverted it here in our own country where it is needed most!
It's time David Cameron stopped sending money abroad and diverted it here in our own country where it is needed most! jjjjjj/mmmmm

12:30pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Guy Smiley says...

To do what exactly? Raise the whole of the Somerset Levels above sea level?
To do what exactly? Raise the whole of the Somerset Levels above sea level? Guy Smiley

1:46am Tue 4 Feb 14

lordgodalmighty says...

its outrageous all these people whinging about needing dredging done - do they not realise that gold plated pensions and bankers bonuses are higher priority than some ridiculous dredging ???
its outrageous all these people whinging about needing dredging done - do they not realise that gold plated pensions and bankers bonuses are higher priority than some ridiculous dredging ??? lordgodalmighty

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