Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Man swept away and killed by flood

Flooding in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, as heavy rain and thunderstorms battered parts of central and northern England
Heavy rain and thunderstorms have hit parts of central and northern England
Stranded cars are seen in flood water after torrential downpours caused flash floods in Jarrow (AP)

One man died, roads and rail lines were blocked and properties flooded as torrential downpours caused flash floods across parts of the UK.

The man was swept away by floodwater in a stream at Bittlerley, near Ludlow, Shropshire, on Thursday morning. Residents named him as maths teacher Mike Ellis, who lived in the village with his wife.

Local councillor and farmer Richard Huffer, 50, said he had known Mr Ellis since he was taught by him at a secondary school in nearby Ludlow more than three decades ago. Mr Huffer said: "He was a very well respected member of the community. He will be deeply missed. His wife is in shock."

The storms have also caused major disruption on the rail network as lines were blocked by floods, landslips and fallen trees. Trains between Scotland and England have been hit by floods in Cumbria and near Newcastle and a landslip near Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Swathes of the Midlands were hit by intense downpours, with some areas receiving almost an inch (22mm) of rain in just an hour - a third of the average rainfall for the whole month of June, forecasters from Meteogroup, the weather forecasting arm of the Press Association, said.

Around 70 properties have been hit by flooding, according to the Environment Agency, which warned people to stay away from rivers and not to drive through flood waters. People have been urged to be on alert for more flash flooding across the Midlands and northern England as the Met Office forecasts outbreaks of torrential rain across many central and northern parts of the country.

A 90-year-old man was among a number of people rescued from vehicles by fire crews as heavy rain caused flash flooding in the Bridgnorth area of Shropshire. The man was checked over by paramedics but was unhurt after floodwater rose three feet around his car on the A454 at Worfield.

Thunderstorms caused flooding and traffic disruption across the North East, with Northumbria Police issuing warnings to drivers to take care because of the treacherous driving conditions and standing water.

The Tyne Tunnel has reopened in both directions, Northumbria Police said. Police told motorists stuck in traffic due to the flooding to stay with their vehicles, unless unsafe to do so, while the emergency services made their way to them.

All Metros are at a standstill due to flooding and the system has been suspended, the force said. Trains from Edinburgh travelling south are terminating at Berwick, police said. Passengers wishing to travel south are leaving the train and are waiting for buses to take them further south.

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