Police call for 'immediate evacuation' of flood-hit Ironbridge

Get out of Ironbridge! Police call for ‘immediate evacuation’ of Shropshire town as flood barriers will BURST any minute – just hours after defences failed 22 miles along in River Severn at Bewdley

  • Police tell people in Ironbridge to leave as force of swollen River Severn forces flood defences backwards
  • Photographs from Bewdley in Worcestershire show the River Severn breaching temporary flood barriers 
  • Met Office has warned of further showers across UK today, followed by even more rainfall later in week
  • Boris Johnson has still not visited the flooded regions that voted him into power 11 days after storms hit
  • ** Have you taken pictures of the flooding or snow? Please email them to: [email protected] ** 

Flood-hit residents were today urged by police to evacuate their homes ‘immediately’ after temporary barriers were overwhelmed in a historic Shropshire town.

Officers told people in Ironbridge to leave their properties and businesses as soon as possible as the force of the swollen River Severn forced flood defences backwards, although they managed to hold.

More wet weather is forecast in some of the worst-affected areas today, with the Met Office expecting parts of Wales and the North West of England will see another 0.8in (2cm) to 1.6in (4cm) of rain. 

It comes as a riverside town 20 miles away in Worcestershire was underwater today after flood defences finally failed in the face of unprecedented flooding and the ever-rising River Severn.

Floodwater has been pouring over the top of temporary barriers erected in the wake of Storm Dennis at Beale’s Corner in the town of Bewdley, which straddles the Severn north of Worcester.

Water crashed over barriers for the first time in decades and consumed an area near homes and businesses at the riverbank. Thousands of properties across Britain have been evacuated since the storm hit on February 15.

Meanwhile anger has been growing at how the Government has reacted since the bad weather began three weeks ago when communities in Yorkshire were flooded after Storm Ciara, in scenes reminiscent of Boxing Day 2015.  

The flood barriers next to the River Severn in the Wharfage area of Ironbridge are seen on February 18 (left) and today (right) having been pushed back – although they are still holding up


The swollen Severn, which has breached emergency defences, flows under The Iron Bridge in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today

Flood barriers which have moved due to the weight of water in the River Severn in the Wharfage area of Ironbridge today

The swollen River Severn is pictured from the Iron Bridge today after after it pushed back emergency defences in Ironbridge

A home surrounded and half-submerged in flood water in Ironbridge, Shropshire, this morning

Homes submerged in flood water in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today after further rain pushed water levels even higher

A car submerged in flood water in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today after further rain pushed water levels even higher

Flood defences are just about holding back floodwater in Ironbridge today, although the Shropshire town is under threat

A canoe outside a flooded home in Ironbridge today as Shropshire faces severe flooding along the River Severn

Homes surrounded and submerged in flood water in Ironbridge, Shropshire, this morning

In Bewdley, firefighters have been scrambled to the town to evacuate residents, with paramedics on scene to assist the vulnerable and elderly. Emergency workers also tried in vain to pump floodwater back into the Severn. 

Tonight there is more misery to come, the Environment Agency warns, when the River Severn is expected to come close to its highest recorded level, which was just over six yards (5.56m) high in November 2000.  England has now seen more than 200 per cent of its average February rainfall, with four days of the month still left to go.

River levels on Severn still close to all-time record 

Parts of the River Severn remain close to their highest level on record, according to the latest Environment Agency data.

At Bewdley, the Severn stood at 5.45 metres at 10am today – just below the all-time record of 5.56 metres which was set on November 2, 2000.

The level has risen more than two metres in the past 72 hours, jumping from 3.36 metres at 9.15am on Sunday.

The agency forecasts the level at Bewdley will peak at 5.48 metres later today and will remain at a near-record high into tomorrow.

Upstream at Buildwas, near Ironbridge, the Severn had reached 6.79 metres at 10am today, a little under the record for that stretch of 7.04 metres.

At Bridgnorth, the Severn stood at 5.19 metres at 10am, very close to its all-time record there of 5.26 metres.

Both of these records were also set on November 2, 2000.

By contrast at the Welsh Bridge in Shrewsbury, the river level is now dropping. It stood at 4.89 metres at 10am today, down from 5.12 metres at 7pm on Tuesday.

The level here is forecast to carry on falling to below four metres by tomorrow evening – though this is still above the point at which property flooding is possible.

On the evacuation of Ironbridge, a West Mercia Police spokesman tweeted today: ‘We’re currently carrying out an immediate evacuation in Ironbridge due to the temporary barriers becoming overwhelmed.

‘Officers from West Mercia Police, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Telford and Wrekin Council and Environment Agency Midlands are in the area. If you are affected please head to the Tontine Hotel.’

The Met Office has warned of further showers across the UK today, followed by even more rainfall tomorrow and on Friday, with up to 0.4in (10mm) expected to fall on the River Severn’s source, the Welsh hills.   

Wintry showers in the North West will also continue tonight before hill snow spreads across the southern third of the UK, with rain possibly turning to low-level snow over the Midlands and East Anglia into tomorrow. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has still not visited the flooded regions that voted him into power 11 days after storms and torrential downpours ruined homes and devastated businesses.

Victims have criticised the £500 they can claim in compensation when they are flooded. The grants were announced by the Government earlier this month as part of a raft of measures designed to help people affected.

In Bewdley today, distressed locals were being rescued as their properties are affected by the floods. A couple with their daughter who were stuck inside their house got out with rescue dinghies.

Amanda Price, the mother who was rescued said they were forced to move out and book a room in a nearby hotel. She said: ‘It’s upsetting, it’s an inconvenience for all of us, it’s quite bad inside the house.

‘The local community has been disrupted by something that could have been prevented maybe. Billions are being spent on the wrong area instead of trying to prevent natural disasters – we wouldn’t be able to stop them but at least try. 

The Environment Agency issued guidance for flood-hit residents of Ironbridge this afternoon, telling them: ‘Act now’

Thousands of residents living near the Severn face flooding, with a 100-mile stretch of the river issued with flood warnings

Rescue workers help a woman to safety in flood waters this afternoon in Bewdley, Shrewsbury

An aerial view of the severe flooding in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today as the River Severn remains very high in the area

EAST SIDE: Flood barriers fail to hold back the River Severn, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on one side of the river this morning

WEST SIDE: Flood defences in Bewdley are still holding back the river on the other side today as the Severn remains high

Flooding in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as the River Severn remains high today, with warnings of further flooding across the UK

Flooding in Bewdley, Worcestershire, with flood defences now breached on the east side of the River Severn today (right)

Flood barriers fail to hold back the River Severn, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, as people survey the damage this morning

Flooding in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK

Flooding in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today as the River Severn remains high, with warnings of further flooding across the UK

‘Boris Johnson has chosen not to speak, not to offer anything, it’s like he is an empty ornament. I wonder if this was Downing Street near the river if they would have done the same to prevent this. ‘

Residents in Ironbridge fearful as flood defences look set to be breached

Residents in Ironbridge are on tenterhooks as the town’a flood defences look set to be breached.

The River Severn is at its peak with the temporary flood defences installed by the Environment Agency being pushed back by the sheer volume of water. The river is currently at its peak.

The River Severn flows under the Iron Bridge today

Elizabeth Maiden, 88, has lived in the same cottage by the banks of the River Severn her whole life. Despite being advised to leave her home, she has decided to stay put.

She said: ‘I’ve lived here for 80 years and it was worse than this in 1947 and 2000. It’s peaked now. I’ve had all sorts of advice from people. Do I want to leave, do I want to be evacuated? 

‘No! Where would I go? I can’t see any point in leaving. I can’t leave my property with all the vandalism these days. You never know who’s around.’

Neil Hunt, 58, owns Truffles Cafe which is directly in front of the flood barrier. He said: ‘I’m not a religious man but I am praying. We’ve had the cafe for 15 years and this is the worst it’s ever been.

‘The barriers are buckling and have been pushed across two or three metres. If the barriers go then you’ll get an insurge of water in to the cafe.

‘We’ve takes precautions and moves stuff to the back where it’s a bit higher. I’d like to thank the Enivorment Agency, the council and the police for everything they’ve done.

A woman go gave her name as Sue and manages a holiday cottage along the river said: ‘We’re all very concerned. Everyone is keeping buoyant. If you live by a river you expect some try in like this to happen.

‘I’ve lived in the area all my life and it’s been worse than this. It used to flood every year before the barriers went up.

Sian Harrison, 45, lives in Bowers Yard, a small hamlet next to the River. She said: ‘I’ve lived here nine years and it’s the worst it’s ever been. Everyone down the lane has said it’s the worst it’s ever been. Two of our neighbours who are elderly were rescued last night. Hopefully we’ll all be OK.’

Lillian Kelly, who has lived in t he Hamlet for 20 years said the floods have stranded her and family.

She said: ‘Getting out is tricky. We have to park the cars out by the bridge. The ground is very saturated too. We’re a good community down here so we’ll look after ourselves.’

David Nolan, 63, who has been evacuated from his home in the Wharfage, said: ‘In the last week we’ve had heavy down pours of rain. That’s caused the river to rise twice now.

‘This is the second time and it’s more prolonged than the first. We were advised a day or two ago to get out. A policeman came with the local council to get us to sign a piece of paper that said it’s our risk if we stay.

‘We then had another visit from another policeman who strongly advised us to evacuate. The concern is that now the barrier is breached and weakened it’ll collapse and there’ll be a wake of water.

‘We don’t usually flood but the last time was in 2000 which was record breaking but there were no barriers back then.

‘This is the first time it’s really been tested. Yes, I’m concerned. The police and council don’t want us to go back. Our concern is that if it breaches.’

Another local who lives nearby, Jane Taylor Cohen, brought food and snacks to her friends who live in one of the affected buildings.

She said: ‘it’s a bit daunting, it’s sad for the families, I saw a couple with a baby being rescued yesterday. I hope for better protection from the government.

‘It’s not good that Boris Johnson hasn’t showed up. If he was here I would ask him ‘what are you going to do, these people need you’. I think a lot of people are going to be angry with him.’

One unexpected victim of the floods ravaging Bewdley is the town’s rowing club. Doug Jackson, 67, chairman of the club, said: ‘I live at the top of a hill so if it gets to us it is proper Noah’s Ark time.

‘A lot of houses have been affected badly down by the river. The barriers on the other side of the river to Beale’s Corner are holding as we speak. They get put up quite regularly.

‘We were down at the club all last weekend clearing up after the first storm. It’s come back up again so we have to do it again. We are a sports club so although it makes a terrible mess, it hasn’t impacted us as badly as some people’s homes.

‘In 2007, the floods missed going into our clubhouse by two or three inche.. It hasn’t peaked yet but it is getting close to the clubhouse. It was at 5.56m in 2000, which was the highest. This looks like it could beat that.

‘We can’t get near the club now, so it’s hard to assess the damage right now. You wouldn’t have thought too much water would be bad for a rowing club but this has certainly tested us.

‘The river has got into our boathouse, the car park and all over the patio area. If it gets in the clubhouse that’s a bigger problem. The boats are secure but this has been awful for us over the past few weeks. The community has been rallying around.’

The snow continued to affect commuters today, with several accidents on motorways in Cheshire amid the conditions, with part of the M53 closed near Little Stanney and a section of the M62 shut near Warrington.

It comes as low-lying areas along the River Severn are also expected to be hit by severe flooding on Wednesday, with potential over-topping of defences in Ironbridge in Shropshire of high concern.  

Ongoing flooding is forecast over the next few days, with England having seen more than 200 per cent of its average February rainfall, the agency said. 

Railway lines into Shrewsbury were closed due to the rising water levels close to the viaduct.

Network Rail said: ‘The exceptionally high-water levels in the Severn and the closure of these lives serve to highlight the extreme weather we’ve experienced across the network over the last few weeks.

‘The current situation in Shrewsbury is very much a once-in-a-generation event.’

It said engineers would be undertaking an underwater inspection of the viaduct’s structure this morning before lines can reopen.

Residents in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley were forced to evacuate after the river spilled over barriers at Beales Corner.

Mark Bowers, a flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, tweeted: ‘Huge amounts of water in the system. Thoughts with the local community who have been impacted.’ 

In the at-risk town of Ironbridge, the force of the river forced flood defences backwards, although they managed to hold.

Shortly after 1am this morning, Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, tweeted: ‘The barrier appears intact but has indeed moved. This will be monitored throughout the night.’

Environment Agency spokesman Marc Lidderth added: ‘The temporary barriers that we have here are holding back the floodwater that’s making its way down the system.

‘Overnight and in the early hours of this morning those barriers have moved. However those barriers are still holding the water and the risk of the over-topping that we were going to see potentially happen through the night, hasn’t actually happened.’

The agency is keeping a close eye on the barriers on the Severn, said Mr Lidderth, who said drones may be used later today to assess the defences.

Roads around the Ironbridge Gorge have also been closed to stop people driving in floodwater, Telford and Wrekin Council said.

The level of the River Severn reached more than 22ft (6.79m) in the Shropshire village of Buildwas at around 8.30am this morning – up from a level of 16ft (4.19m) on Sunday. 

In the North East, flood warnings remain in place in the Snaith area, in East Yorkshire, ahead of a high tide on Wednesday morning.

The Environment Agency said the washlands at Gowdall Ings are continuing to fill and are overtopping, as designed, into Snaith Ings, with flooding affecting properties nearby.

Hull Coastguard Rescue Team joined other agencies, including police, fire and ambulance services, on Tuesday night to alert residents and help with evacuations.

A swollen River Severn, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, is pictured this morning as the River Severn continues to rise

The swollen River Severn, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, is pictured today after water started to pour over the top of defencesongoing flooding is also forecast for the next few days.

A bridge over the swollen River Severn, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today is pictured next to the flood defences

Workers look at the river levels next to the swollen River Severn in Bewdley, Worcestershire, this morning

Rising water levels from the River Severn have breached flood barriers in Bewdley, Worcestershire, pictured today

High river levels in on the Severn in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today with warnings of further flooding across the UK

Yesterday, East Riding of Yorkshire Council said that 10 properties – seven commercial and three residential – had flooded in Snaith and the road north of the town had been closed.

Further sleet and snow is expected in some areas today

The Snaith School said it will be closed today as a precaution and Snaith Primary School also remains closed.

This morning there were two severe flood warnings – meaning there is a risk to life – on the River Severn.

There were a further 102 flood warnings and 146 flood alerts in place stretching from the Lake District down to the south coast, with heavy concentrations in the North East and South West.

Many towns the length of the River Severn were also at risk.

The Met Office has warned of further showers across the UK today, followed by even more rainfall tomorrow and on Friday.

Forecaster John Griffiths said up to 0.4in (10mm) could fall on the River Severn’s source, the Welsh hills, throughout yesterday, with other parts of the UK seeing up to 0.1in (2mm). 

Conditions tomorrow (left) and on Friday (right) will again be wet, although temperatures will rise towards the weekend

The Riverside Caravan Park in Bridgnorth today, where the River Severn has burst its banks and continues to rise

Residents in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley were forced to evacuate last night after the river spilled over barriers

Water was seen gushing over the top of the barriers onto Stourport Road at Bewdley in Worcestershire last night

The river at Bewdley is expected to come close to its highest ever level. Pictured: Flood water breaches defences last night

Flood defences are breached in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley last night after the River Severn rose above the barriers

He said temperatures are likely to ‘hover around freezing’ in the morning, with the west of England and the Midlands experiencing the most frequent showers. 

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has been issued until 10am today for Northern Ireland, west Scotland, Wales and large swathes of England.

The Met Office warned that ‘wintry showers’ were expected throughout last night and this morning ‘leaving surfaces wet and leading to icy stretches developing on untreated surfaces’.

Up to three inches of snow was also expected on higher ground in northwest England, Wales and west Scotland.   

Another yellow weather warning for ice is also in place in the Midlands and South of England, with the Met Office warning ‘icy stretches are likely to bring some travel disruption overnight and into Wednesday morning’. 

Photographs taken at Beale’s Corner in Bewdley last night, which straddles the River Severn north of Worcester, show flood water pouring over the top of temporary barriers erected in the wake of Storm Dennis

Hereford and Worcester firefighters along with West Midlands Ambulance paramedics in Bewdley yesterday evening

Flooding is possible on the Wye, Ouse and Trent rivers, the EA said. Pictured: Emergency services in Bewdley last night

Up to 0.4in (10mm) of rain is forecast for most areas tomorrow, increasing to 0.4in to 0.8in (20mm) in a 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday morning across catchment areas in Wales, Cumbria and Yorkshire, Mr Griffiths said.

The Environment Agency has warned flooding is possible on the rivers Wye, Ouse and Trent, with other areas at risk from localised flooding caused by heavy rainfall expected on Friday.

** Have you taken pictures of the flooding or snow? Please email them to: [email protected] ** 

It comes as homes were evacuated yesterday after the River Aire burst its banks in Snaith, in East Yorkshire.

As of 10.30pm, two severe ‘danger to life’ flood warnings had been issued for the Shropshire towns of Shrewsbury and Ironbridge.

The Environment Agency said there is a ‘potential for the Ironbridge [flood] barrier to overtop’.

A further 101 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 147 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, are also in place across the country.

ELEVEN DAYS after floods devastated the regions that voted him into power, Boris Johnson sits at home in Downing Street hosting Austrian Chancellor… with storm victims left asking: ‘When WILL he visit us?’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not visited flood impacted communities since Storm Dennis struck

Boris Johnson has still not visited the flooded regions that voted him into power ten days after storms and torrential downpours ruined homes and devastated businesses. 

Flood-hit communities have lashed out at the government for its response to the severe weather conditions that have blitzed the country, and criticised the PM for his no-show in areas such as Yorkshire, South Wales and the South West, who have been battling the deluge.

Storm Dennis hit on Saturday February 15, causing transport chaos as high-winds cancelled flights and rain lashed the sodden ground.

Just 12 hours later, and after torrential downpours overnight, various parts of the country were flooded, and 11 days later have still not been visited by Mr Johnson.

Victims have criticised the £500 they can claim in compensation when they are flooded. The grants were announced by the Government earlier this month as part of a raft of measures designed to help people affected.

Anger has been growing over the way the Government has reacted since the bad weather first started three weeks ago when communities in Yorkshire were flooded after Storm Ciara, in scenes reminiscent from Boxing Day 2015. 

Yesterday Mr Johnson hosted Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at Downing Street as one of the hardest hit areas in the country, Shrewsbury slammed him for not visiting the flood-stricken area.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz at a bilateral meeting at 10 Downing Street yesterday

Mike Evans, of Evans Carpets, said he had been told that the council had run out of sandbags. ‘We’ve had nothing – no help or assistance whatsoever. We haven’t seen anyone from the council or the Environment Agency,’ he said.

Mark Davies, 59, who runs Darwin’s Townhouse B&B in Shrewsbury, said he had suffered thousands of pounds of damage and had been unable to obtain insurance.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s absence in the crisis, he said: ‘Boris Johnson should make some sort of nod to acknowledge all the devastation.’ 

No 10 yesterday defended Mr Johnson’s absence from flooded areas, saying it was important not to ‘distract’ attention from the relief effort, and that Environment Secretary George Eustice was ‘rightly’ leading the Government’s response. 

Last week, Downing Street confirmed the PM would not be visiting flood-affected areas, while he stayed at the Chevening estate near Sevenoaks with girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

David Bickle, 57, whose ground-floor flat in Shrewsbury was under a foot of water last night, criticised the Prime Minister’s excuses, saying: ‘What relief effort? There is no one helping us for him to disturb.’

Shropshire Council insisted last night that it has not run out of sandbags. A spokesman said: ‘Any residents or businesses requiring sandbags are asked to contact the council and we will supply them.’

Anger has been growing at the Prime Minister’s no-show in areas that have suffered three successive weekends of horrendous weather caused by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.

Houses in Powys village of Crickhowell were submerged in water after the River Usk burst its banks. And a major incident was declared after a terrifying landslide in Tylorstown, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

York and the Cambridgeshire market town of St Ives were also nearly entirely flooded from the River Ouse, after Storm Dennis struck.

The River Wye was the highest it had ever been, causing more havoc in Herefordshire.

Families in south Wales – an area particularly badly affected by the huge amounts of rain fall – lambasted the government for its failure to act.

Museum worker Robin Williams, 62, from Pontypridd said: ‘Where’s Boris? Where’s the help?’

Robin and wife Tracey 55, had moved into their home just one year ago and claims they have not received any help with their flooded property.

Tracey, who works in a care home, said: ‘We haven’t long been here and a lot of our stuff was new. I asked the council for sandbags but they said you have to wait until the water is coming in, which it was.

‘We haven’t had any help and nobody has been here from the council. They are out of their depth.

‘It was a freak flood and there was nothing put in place to stop it.’

Tracey Waites, 49, also of Pontypridd, added: ‘We haven’t seen anyone. There are no politicians down here helping. Where are they?

‘We haven’t seen anyone from the government or anyone from the council. We’ve heard nothing from anyone.’

Tracey Waits, and husband Marc, 52, described how they were desperately trying to get their belongings upstairs when the flood hit.

Marc said: ‘Luckily our daughter was awake when it started happening and she alerted us.

‘We’ve just been trying to sort out our insurance as we couldn’t get hold of anyone on the weekend.

‘We were watching a car bobbing around in the water outside and thought it might come through our front wall. Our car has been towed away as it was caught up in all the water.’

Tracey said: ‘When the water was coming in we started passing our belongings to each other up the stairs.

‘We managed to save my daughter’s school coursework and some photos because they can’t be replaced. It’s so awful and I can’t believe it’s happened.’

Colin, 78, went outside to try and poke through the drain but flood water was bursting up through it.

He said: ‘The water was coming up the path so I tried to poke the drain to clear it.

‘I realised the water was coming up through the drain and then it all came in through the front and back of our house.’

Speaking through tears, he added: ‘We saved very little in fact. It’s going to take a long time to get this sorted out.

In the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, local authorities have called for their region to be given the same extra funding as London does to tackle terrorism so they have the best chance of limiting flood damage.

Roy James, a cafe owner in Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, told Sky News: ‘We are a little frustrated because we think surely the government have had 13 years to talk about this which you would imagine would be plenty but seemingly not.

‘So we are hoping that this time Mr Johnson and his crew will come and do something, do something for us, help us.’

Towns in the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales that have endured years of relentless flooding and were under water again just a week prior to flooding in South Wales.

The West Yorkshire towns of Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, Hebden and Sowerby Bridge have been among the worst hit, with the streets transformed into canals, cars submerged and shops floors and front rooms covered in muddy water.

Locals in drenched villages like Mytholmroyd, near Halifax in West Yorkshire, have demanded answers, after the area suffered a previous round of severe flooding on Boxing Day in 2011.

After the December 2015 floods, a £30 million flood prevention scheme was begun in Mytholmroyd, which is due for completion in the summer.

Many locals cleaning up from the carnage expressed anger that not more had been done to help them bolster flood defences. 

Michael Green, whose fish and chip shop van was damaged in the floods, said ‘action must be taken’ when asked about the controversial flood defences.

The 38-year-old added: ‘What’s so frustrating is that we have seen this all before back in 2015.

‘Back then there were flood defences in place but there were big massive gaps and the water got through.

‘After that we were assured that it would never happen again but here we are now, dealing with damage caused by another flood.

‘The flood warning came late and the defences just weren’t up to scratch, they’re an absolute joke. It’s not good enough.

‘This is devastating for all of us who are affected but all we can do now is move on and deal with it.

‘I hope this is the last time but sadly most of us have lost faith that we’ll be protected from flooding.’

Mr Green, who opened Plenty of Fish and Chips three years ago, purposefully put his van on wheels so it could be moved in the event of flooding.

However, when he attempted to move it after hearing the flood warning he was unable to leave his home in nearby Hebden Bridge because of a fallen tree.

He said: ‘I managed to get here on Sunday evening and the van was under four foot of water.

‘I’ve had to throw away £2,500 worth of stock and a couple of fridges and I probably won’t open again for another week. Business has been hit hard.’

Mortgage broker Julie Clayton, who runs a mortgage and insurance services firm in Mytholmroyd, said she is ‘furious’ the flood defences failed.

She said: ‘This is the third time we have flooded since 2012, which is just outrageous.

‘After the last time we were told all the right things and we thought we would never flood again, we were delighted.

‘Work on the flood defences should have been finished last autumn, and if they had been then we probably wouldn’t be in this situation now. But here we are flooded again, it’s infuriating.

‘The sad thing is that we have got used to it, it’s part of our lives now.’

She added: ‘We’ve all got businesses to run and things can’t just stop.

‘So we’re working to make sure our clients are happy while dealing with this awful flood damage.

‘It’s a difficult time but we just have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.’

Sue Slater, whose hairdressing business is in the most affected part of the village, says she was prepared for the flooding after suffering significant damage in 2015.

The 59-year-old said: ‘I was here the last time we flooded and my business was almost completely destroyed, I was out of the building for nine months.

‘After that happened I made sure the place was as well prepared for a flood as it possibly could be.

‘The flooring is tile and the walls are covered in waterproof paint, which meant that when we got here we could use a power hose to clean everything.

‘All of our furniture is made from metal so it can be wiped down and the plug sockets are four foot from the ground so they didn’t get damaged.

‘The insurance won’t cover us for flooding so I had to do everything possible to insure myself.

‘I even put a sum of money aside every month to prepare for an event like this.

‘If I hadn’t done all that then I’d be out of a livelihood today, but as it is I’m hoping to be open for business on Friday.’

Roger Benn, who runs a travel agents, was trapped on the first floor of his business when the flooding hit on Sunday.

The 69-year-old said: ‘It was really frightening because I was upstairs and the water just kept getting higher and higher.

‘I was in the same position in 2015 and the water got all the way to the top of the stairs then, luckily this time it only got up to the third step.’

He added: ‘The clear up operation now is so difficult because the water is mixed with sewage.

‘So that means we have to disinfect every last thing here, which is a nightmare, but there’s a real risk of infection if we don’t.

‘The water came up to the table tops so you can imagine how much needs doing.

‘Luckily I’m a member of the Rotary Club so I have lots of helping hands with me today, hopefully I’ll open up again next week.

‘In the meantime though I’m missing a lot of trade, it’s bad for business.’ 

** Have you taken pictures of the flooding or snow? Please email them to: [email protected] ** 

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