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UK floods: Thames reaches record water levels
Several water gauges along the River Thames have measured record levels as flood waters continue to rise.
Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place along a stretch of the river in Berkshire and Surrey, with police warning 2,500 Surrey homes are at risk.
The Environment Agency is also warning of rising water in the Somerset Levels.
Forecasters said Monday would be the driest day of the week, but rivers could continue to rise as previous rainfall works its way downstream.
Several Thames gauges are currently showing their highest water levels since being installed in the 1980s and 90s.
The Environment Agency’s 14 severe warnings – meaning “danger to life” – are for areas in and around Staines, Egham, Chertsey and Datchet.
Water levels there are expected to rise despite the fact that significant rainfall is not expected during the day.
Armed forces personnel were in the heavily populated area on Sunday night building a 2ft-high (60cm) defence to try to divert the river away from homes.
Howard Davidson, from the Environment Agency, said on Sunday: “The Thames is a big river and it responds to rainfall over many weeks – and the catchment is saturated.
“We are seeing the Thames continue to rise and it will continue to do so, certainly over the next few days and we have further rain forecast over Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Two severe flood warnings remain in place in Somerset, and more than 300 less-serious warnings and alerts have been issued, mostly in southern England and the Midlands.
The Met Office has no rain warnings in place for Monday, but it is warning of ice across much of the UK.
But forecasters say another area of low pressure is expected to reach the UK on Monday night and into Tuesday, bringing more heavy rain.
Peter Sloss, of the BBC Weather Centre, said Monday would be the “driest day of the week” – but he warned there would be 20-40mm (1-2in) of rain for many areas by the end of Thursday.
He said some showers would be wintry, with snow likely on higher ground in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England.
The long-range forecast suggested there could be longer spells of dry weather in the south of England towards the end of the month, he added.
National Rail said the River Thames had flooded at several locations between Staines and Windsor & Eton Riverside stations early on Monday. Trains in the area are cancelled and replacement buses are “not available”.
The main rail route into Devon and Cornwall via Bridgwater remains cut off by problems caused by flooding and storm damage.
The line from Paddington to Exeter via Newbury is expected to reopen later following a drop in flood water levels at Athelney.
The line from Waterloo to Exeter via Yeovil, closed by a landslip at Crewkerne on Saturday, has reopened.
In other developments on Sunday:
- About 20 residents had to be rescued by firefighters from a caravan park next to the River Thames near Northmoor in Oxfordshire which has become flooded for the second time in five weeks
- Rescue teams searching for a kayaker in Powys have a boat. The man has not been seen since 13:00 GMT
- Worcestershire County Council urged people to avoid the centre of Worcester. It closed the main road bridge in the city centre due to flooding as the River Severn rose
- Dutch and US experts attended a meeting in Downing Street to discuss longer term solutions to alleviating flooding and flood risk