Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

People warned to flee floods danger

Three elderly people were rescued from their car after it was swept away as they drove into a ford in Warwickshire (West Midlands Ambulance Service/PA)
The flooded Somerset Levels as heavy rain continues to fall on already drenched fields and swollen rivers in the area
Paul and Denise Milsom from Cheltenham look at the flooded road between Cropthorne and Fladbury in Worcestershire

People have been told to flee their homes as floodwater and torrential rain caused "serious threats to life and property" in south-west England.

Severe flood warnings were issued by the Environment Agency for Helston, Polperro and Perranporth, Cornwall, as rivers threatened to burst their banks.

Special "rest centres" were set up in the worst-hit villages, allowing families to take shelter overnight as the floodwater surged through the rural West Country.

Emergency services, rescue crews and the Environment Agency met council bosses in an effort to spread the message about the danger to life and property, following nearly four days of uninterrupted rainfall.

Across the region, roads were closed for safety reasons and others were impassable as rain saturated highways, and debris blocked lanes.

The severe flood warnings, its highest alert, were issued amid concern that lives were at risk.

All three were for the South West, near Perranporth, Helston and Polperro - the latter two in areas where the were concerns that nearby rivers were about to burst their banks.

The picturesque fishing port of Polperro has a history of being susceptible to flooding, with many properties in the area having sand bags ready following years of being at flood risk.

People in Mevagissey, Cornwall, were also dealing with flood problems as water surged through the winding streets and crept into homes.

For many, this week's flooding came with barely a few days' respite since the last time deluges crept through the windy streets and into homes.

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