Monday, February 10, 2014

Floods threaten thousands of homes along the Thames

The Guardian (UK): Thousands of homes along the Thames have been told to prepare for significant flooding, as the number of severe flood warnings in the south of England rises to 16. Fourteen of the warnings relate to a lengthy stretch of the Thames through Berkshire and Surrey, and two remain in place in the Somerset Levels.

The Environment Agency (EA) said the Thames warnings stretched "from Datchet to Shepperton Green, including Ham Court and Chertsey, as river levels in the area are extremely high and are forecast to continue to rise".

The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said the areas were expected to suffer significant problems by the middle of the week. The latest storm was predicted to arrive in southern England and Wales on Monday evening with heavy rain of up to 0.78in (20mm), MeteoGroup said.

While emergency work to prevent flooding continues, including the distribution of tens of thousands more sandbags by the Royal Marines, the EA boss has hit back at government critics. Lord Smith has accused ministers of "getting in the way" of vital work to deal with devastating floods by turning the crisis into a political row.

The peer defended the quango's handling of the situation and issued a furious broadside at what he said were attempts by politicians to undermine the work and reputation of the agency in a bid to secure better media coverage....

A flood gate in the Thames, shot by Nigel Chadwick, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, nder the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license 

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