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Thames floods crisis in Surrey - Saturday (Feb 15) update

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: February 15, 2014

By Mark Davison

HamptonCt9.2.14a

Thames at HamptonCourt on 9.2.14: Photo: Mark Davison

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SATURDAY UPDATE (February 15th 2014)

THERE is some good news for the many hundreds of people who have been flooded along the Thames in Surrey and Middlesex as water levels overnight have continued to fall overnight. This is despite yesterday's heavy rain and the violent winds overnight which saw a woman killed when debris fell in Holborn, London. There were gusts of over 55mph at Heathrow Airport and trees fell across railway lines. Rainfall yesterday was between 12 and 20mm in the Thames catchment area and the Environment Agency has warned that this water still has to flow into the Thames, so levels could rise a little in the next couple of days. However, the level is not expected to exceed the extremely high levels recorded last Monday.

Surrey weatherman Ian Currie said that some rain is expected on Monday after a largely fine and sunny day this Sunday but the run of violent rainstorms seems to have come to an end. Showers, some with hail and thunder, could occur later today (Saturday). "Sunday will be a fine, sunny day," he said. "It will be very welcome".

Severe flood warnings are still in force at Chertsey, Shepperton, Laleham, Staines, Egham, Runnymede, Penton Hook, Old Windsor, and Magna Carta Island.

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* At Walton on Thames, the river level was 4.11m at 7am, said the Environment Agency, and had fallen by 7cms (2.5in) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Sunbury Lock, at 7am the level was 0.68m and had dropped 5cm (2in) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Shepperton Lock, the level had fallen by 3cm since the same time yesterday. The level this morning was 0.93m.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, the level this morning at 7am was 1.16m and had fallen by 2cm (just under an inch) since 7am yesterday.

*Upstream at Penton Lock, at 7am the level was 1.13m, down 9cms (4in) since 7am yesterday.

*At Thames Ditton Island, at 7am the level was 6.47m. This was down 9cm (4.5in) on yesterday's measurement at 7am

Rising groundwater levels in places have exacerbated the flooding, despite the river level falling. This winter has been the wettest ever recorded. Records go back to the 1700s.

.......................................................................

OUR EARLIER REPORTS:

THIS EVENING (Friday): Gales are affecting the Thames floods area in Surrey and Middlesex. Water levels are stable despite this afternoon's heavy rain which will take time to work its way into the river.

Winds are gusting to 55mph at Heathrow Airport (11pm)and rural parts of Surrey have lost power. Trains have been halted by fallen trees at Kingston and Surbiton. Many flights have been diverted from Heathrow to Stansted and other airports. All this on top of the misery along the Thames tonight. Winds could get stronger in the next couple of hours.

Much flooding is coming from rising groundwater levels.

Rogue traders have been reported to be cashing in on the crisis, offering people sandbags for sale at £30 each or more.

TODAY (Friday),February 14th: The level of the flooded Thames in Surrey and Middlesex has again dropped slightly. However, a spell of heavy rain is expected later this morning and during the afternoon with gales, which is bound to hamper rescue and recovery work in the communities severely affected by the floods.

Some people are reporting new flooding in Thames-side areas previously not affected because of rising groundwater levels.

Sewage is getting into the water in some locations. The Army is expected to be helping Staines families today.

There are still 14 severe flood warnings along the Thames in this area, which means lives are at risk, as well as property.

The vicar of St John's, Egham, has been rescuing people with a boat and the Red Lion pub at Shepperton is open all day helping flood vicitims.

The flooding is the most severe in Middlesex and Surrey since March 1947, when 118cms of rain fell in March at Kew. However, then, there had been a drier-than-normal January and February, unlike this year.

"A total of 525mm (21in) of rain has fallen since December 1 on the Surrey hills - an unprecedented amount," said weatherman, Ian Currie, from Coulsdon.

*STOLEN BOAT ALERT : A boat being used in Staines for local people during flood rescues has been stolen please RT pic.twitter.com/nTYNq1Gttb

There have been reports of "fist-fights" in some flood-stricken areas of the Thames as people argue over the allocation of sandbags.

FRIDAY UPDATE (February 14th 2014)

*At Walton on Thames, the level at 7am this morning was 11cm (4in) down on the level recorded by the Environment Agency yesterday (Thursday) at the same time.

*Upstream at Sunbury Lock, at 7am, the level was 0.73m, which was down 9cms (3.5in) lower than at 7am yesterday.

*Upstream at Sheppertonn Lock, the 7am level was 0.96m, a drop of 7cms (3in) in 24 hours.This is just under the highest level recorded in the past 29 years.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, the 7am level was 1.18m, down 7cm (2.5in). This figure is still 10cm higher than at any time since records commenced at the location in 1985.

*Upstream at Penton Hook at 7am was 1.18m. It had dropped in 24 hours by 12cm (4.5in), and was still higher than at any time in the past three decades.

The amount of water flowing through the Thames this January was the highest recorded for any January since records began in 1883.

New data from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology shows that the rate of water flow has now exceeded 275 metres per second for more than 50 days.

There is a major operation by all the emergency services and the Army.

The Met Office predicts a further 10 to 20mm of rain today with winds gusting up to severe gale force later today, especially this evening, This could bring down branches, tiles, and debris.

There are warnings to flood victims not to use generators indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Children on school half-term holidays have been warned not to play in the increasingly polluted water in the 500 flooded roads.

Sunday is expected to be drier but some more rain is forecast for Monday, although it not be as heavy as today's, said the Met Office.

There has been a huge community spirit in the region as people help each other in the crisis. However, there have been reports of sandbag thefts and drivers ignoring road-closed signs and causing bow waves to further damage properties.

OUR EARLIER REPORTS OF THE THAMES FLOOD CRISIS:

THE River Thames has flooded large parts of north Surrey and south Middlesex as its waters have risen to their highest level for at least 30 years in places such as Egham, Laleham, Chertsey, Walton on Thames, Staines, Shepperton and Runnymede.

The flooding is the worst since 1947 when heavy rain and vast quantities of melted snow combined to bring a disaster along the Thames in the same area.

THURSDAY UPDATE (February 13th 2014):

This week, 1,000 homes are flooded in Surrey alone and nearly 500 roads in the stricken area are under water. Fourteen severe flood warnings remain in place. Yesterday saw a period of heavy rain for a time in the early afternoon and blustery winds. Today is predicted to be "the lull before the storm" as yet another powerful depression streams in from the Atlantic, says the Met Office. Surrey weather expert Ian Currie, of Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, said: "Friday's rain will be heavier than Wednesday's, for it will be coming from the south and south west and will have more moisture in it as it is from a warmer direction. This will not be good for Surrey and the London area."

Overnight, the level of the Thames has eased a little. In places it has dropped an inch, but at Thames Ditton it was a fraction higher than yesterday. Surrey Fire and Rescue says it has rescued 850 people since Sunday. Two hundred were rescued yesterday (Wednesday). Water levels have stabilised at a very high level. A large sandbank barrier is being constructed in two parts of Penton Hook. Yesterday, elderly people were rescued by boat from a flooded old people's home in Egham. There have been isolated reports of sandbags being stolen and one house has been looted. Police are extensively patrolling the area. Many schools are closed. Five hundred tons of sand have been ordered by Surrey County Council contractors to make more sandbags. About 20,000 sandbags have been distributed so far by the "Gold Command" floods crisis operation.

*At Walton on Thames, at 7am, the Environment Agency measured a depth of 4.29m, the same level as on Wednesday at 7am.

* Upstream at Sunbury Lock, at 7am, the water level was 0.82m was recorded by the Environment Agency. This was the same level as 24 hours earlier.

* Upstream at Shepperton Lock, the level at 7am was 1.05m.It had fallen 1cm (almost half an inch) in the past 24 hours.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, at 6am, the level was 1.25m and had fallen 4cms (almost two inches) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Penton Hook, near Laleham, the level at 7am was 1.3m and had fallen 7cms (nearly three inches) in 24 hours.

*At Thames Ditton island, the level at 7am today was 6.63m and had RISEN by 5cms (two inches).

WEDNESDAY UPDATE (February 12th 2014):

Water levels on the Thames this morning (Wednesday) have eased a little from their highest levels earlier this week. In the past 24 hours, the water level has generally dropped by 2 to 8cms (one to three inches) but remain extremely high.

There is extensive flooding of properties and rest centres for flood victims are in operation at Spelthorne Leisure Centre, Staines, Middlesex; in Elmbridge borough at Manor Road; and at New Haw, near Addlestone. Thirty people, including two families are currently being cared for at the New Haw centre. One of those is a 92-year-old widower who was rescued by ambulance from the roadside outside his flooded bungalow.

There is a huge rescue operation involving Surrey and Sussex Police, the Army, Surrey, Northamptonshire and Norfolk fire and rescue services, Metropolitan Police and the Highways Agency together with Surrey County Council and the district and local authorities. More than 40 Thames-side roads are closed by flooding and 900 homes along the Thames in Berkshire, Surrey and Middlesex have been flooded. Groundwater levels have risen and even properties away from the River Thames are being flooded after the wettest winter in history. Twenty inches of rain have fallen in the Surrey hills since mid December and this huge amount of water has gradually been seeping down into the chalk sub-stratas and making its way slowly into the Thames.

Heavy rain is forecast for this afternoon with gales. More rain is expected on Friday which may well be heavy and add to the flooding problems.

Six hundred Thames-side homes in Surrey have been evacuated . The flooding is said to be the worst since March 1947.

*At Walton on Thames, at 6am, the Environment Agency measured a depth of 4.29m. The level has dropped by 8cm (4in) in the past 24 hours.

*Upstream at Sunbury Lock, at 6am, the water level was 0.82m. The level has dropped 7cm (2.5ins) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Shepperton Lock, the level at 6am was 1.06m and had dropped 4cm (nearly 2in) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, at 6am, the level was 1.29m, and had dropped 1cm (half an inch) in 24 hours.

*Upstream at Penton Hook, near Laleham, the level at 6am was 1.37m and had RISEN by 1cm (half an inch) in 24 hours

* Thames Ditton island's water level was 6.58m at 5.15am. The level had dropped by 8cm (3in) in 24 hours.

WARNING OF WORSE TO COME IN SURREY:www.surreymirror.co.uk/Surrey-weatherman-Ian-Currie-issues-new-grim/story-20603632-detail/story.html

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE (February 11th 2014):

Water levels on the Thames have stabilised overnight. In places the level upstream has risen by 2cm. Downstream, it has fallen by 2cm.

*At Walton on Thames, at 7am the Environment Agency measured a depth of 4.37m. The level had dropped by 2cm (nearly 1in) since 10pm last night.

*Upstream at Sunbury Lock, at 7am the level was 0.89m, and had dropped by 1cm since 10pm last night and levelled off overnight after reaching its highest point at 6pm last night.

*Upstream at Shepperton Lock, at 7am the level was 1.10m and had levelled off, but was 1cm higher than at 10pm last night.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, the level at 7am was 1.3m. This was 1cm higher than at 10pm.

*Upstream at Penton Hook, near Laleham, the level at 7am was 1.36m, which was 3cm (just over an inch) higher than at 10pm.

*At Thames Ditton Island, the level at 7am was 6.67m, 3cm lower than at 10pm.

A full-scale emergency operation involving Surrey Police, Sussex Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue, Northampton Fire and Rescue, the military, ambulance service, local authoriities and the Environment Agency is taking place along the Thames in Surrey, Middlesex and Berkshire.

Five hundred roads have been flooded in the Surrey County Council area alone. 150 people have been rescued, many of them drivers stuck in flood water after risking motoring through the torrents.

Emergency rest centres have been opened but are reported to be quiet. House to house visits are being made by 999 crews. As many as 2,500 homes are at risk of flooding and 900 homes alongside a 12-mile stretch of the Thames have already been under water.

More heavy rain is forecast mid week.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE (February 10th 2014):

The level of the Thames has risen slightly overnight.

*At Walton on Thames, the level rose 6cms(2in) in the 12 hours up to 7am. The level at 7am was 4.37m, the highest in any time since records started in 1990. The previous highest was 4.04m.

*At Thames Ditton, the level was 6.75m, beating the previous highest level of 6.7m recorded since measurements begun in January 2003. The level here was the same as at 7pm on Sunday.

*Upstream at Chertsey Lock, the measurement recorded by the Environment Agency was 1.27m, beating the previous record of 1.08m since records began here in 1985. The level had gone up 4cms (almost 2ins) in the 12 hours up to 7am today.

The Army have been issuing sandbags to businesses and householders on the Shepperton side of Chertsey Bridge, which is closed to traffic.

At Runnymede, the Army has been helping in the crisis, too.

Surrey Police are co-ordinating the emergency operations.

SUNDAY EVENING UPDATE (February 9th 2014): There are now 14 severe flood warnings along the Thames in Surrey, Middlesex, and West Berkshire as levels continue to slowly rise. In many places, the water level is the highest in at least 30 years. Severe warnings mean life and property is at risk. Widespread property flooding is likely at Egham and Staines and other stretches in the next day or two.

SATURDAY'S EARLIER REPORT (February 8th 2014):

More than half an inch of rain fell overnight in Surrey and when the swollen streams feeding the Thames discharge this extra rainfall, it will burst its banks in more places over the next few days, the Environment Agency warn today.

At Walton on Thames, the river's highest level since at least 1990 was measured this morning at 7am. The depth was 4.09m. The previous highest was 4.04m.

The highest level since 1985 was also recorded this morning at Penton Hook, west of Laleham.

At Sunbury, the Environment Agency said that some property flooding is already occurring.

"Some flooding to property closest to the river is already occurring. Levels will continue to rise and further extensive property flooding is to be expected," said the Agency. "The current river forecast suggests that by the middle of next week the river in this area could reach a similar level to January 2003."

The level at Sunbury Lock this morning at seven o'clock was 0.65m, only a few centimetres short of the highest level previously recorded at the locality since detailed records began in 1985.

At Shepperton Lock, there was a similar picture with the river level just 9cms short of the highest previously recorded in the area since observations were first kept in January 1985.

At Chertsey Lock, the Thames this morning was 1.11m. This figure beats the highest figure of 1.08m measured in the past 29 years.

The Environment Agency said on Friday afternoon that the Thames at Kingston and Surbiton is high and rising slowly. "River levels are expected to continue to rise slowly over the next few days in response to recent and further forecast rainfall. Flooding of properties located closest to the river is expected. The current river forecast suggests that river levels in this area could reach a higher level than those seen in January 2003."

In Egham and Staines, flooding of properties can be expected at any time over the next few days.

The Environment Agency said on Friday: "The River Thames in the Staines and Egham area has risen in response to the recent rainfall and is forecast to continue to rise until the beginning of next week. Property flooding is to be expected from today onwards. The current river forecast suggests that river levels in this area could reach a similar or higher level than those seen in January 2003."

All sections of the Thames in Surrey and Middlesex are on a Flood Warning, the second highest alert issued by the Enviroment Agency.

Regarding Walton on Thames, the Agency said: "The River Thames in the Walton area has risen in response to rainfall earlier in the week and is forecast to continue to rise until the beginning of next week. Further flooding of properties located closest to the river is expected."

There was a similar situation at Thames Ditton, with low-lying properties on Thames Ditton Island likely to flood as water levels reach their highest level for several years.

In East Molesey and West Molesey, there is also a risk to Thames-side homes and businesses.

"Property flooding is possible over the coming days. The current river forecast suggests that river levels in this area could reach a similar or higher level than those seen in January 2003," said the Agency, referring to the Moleseys.

The River Mole levels are rising, but have not reached a level yet where there is any flooding danger but once the overnight rain reaches the river, this could change.

The Surrey Weather Book author and meteorology expert Ian Currie, of Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, was last night expecting to announce that the county had just had its wettest winter ever recorded, beating the famous wet and muddy winter of 1914-15 when so many soldiers perished in the battlefield quagmires in the First World War. He has already measured the wettest January ever recorded and can find none wetter going back at least 150 years.

"If there is another 3mms of rain today, the record will be broken," said Mr Currie, who is editor of the Weather Eye magazine. "The record is bound to be broken with all the showers that are coming."

The Met Office predicts some further showers and gales today and more stormy weather on Tuesday which is likely to further push up the levels of the Thames later in the week.

*The A308 Windsor Road in Runnymede is closed in both directions between Runnymede Roundabout and the A328 Priest Hill junction, because of flooding.

*The B375 Chertsey Bridge Road in Chertsey is closed in both directions between the B387 Weir Road junction and the Littleton Lane junction, because of flooding

* Plough Lane in Cobham is blocked between the Ockham Lane junction and the Downside Road junction, because of flooding.

* The A22 in Whyteleafe between the Wapses Lodge roundabout and Purley is still closed because of an underground water course - or bourne - which has risen to ground level and flooded homes, and put the Kenley Water Pumping Station at risk of being closed down.

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