“Another 10 days of difficult conditions” has been predicted for parts of the Midlands devastated by flooding.
There are fears Shropshire and Worcestershire, where evacuations have been taking place, will be further affected following heavy rain in Wales.
On Wednesday, barriers holding back the River Severn at Ironbridge buckled and water seeped underneath.
Meanwhile, the same river overtopped defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire.
Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss, from West Mercia Police, told a press conference on Wednesday evening the force anticipated its presence on the ground will “continue for the next 10 days” at least.
He said emergency crews also remain on the ground in “many places that are still flooded and have been for some time”, as more wet weather was forecast.
Overnight on Tuesday, while the main flood defences in Bewdley stood firm, those in the Beales Corner area of town saw water from a swollen River Severn come over the top.
About 40 properties were either flooded or at risk and on Wednesday some residents were rescued on a fire service dinghy, although 12 people chose to stay in their homes.
Then in Ironbridge, Shropshire, 35 homes were evacuated as an emergency measure when a flood barrier buckled and water seeped underneath.
Parts of neighbouring Shrewsbury have been under water for the last three days, while swathes of Worcestershire flooded last week in the wake of Storm Dennis.
A severe flood warning – meaning danger to life – remains in place for the Wharfage area of Ironbridge.
The Environment Agency estimated that up to 500 tonnes of water was coursing past Ironbridge’s flood defences every second.
Levels have since dropped by just over 40cm in the town and are also down by 80cm in Shrewsbury.
Mr Moss said: “We understand the devastation and terrible impact this unprecedented situation has had on our communities.
“Flood waters are set to recede quite slowly and are likely to be topped up again, with additional rain over the weekend and at the end of next week.
“We would therefore ask people to take this into consideration when making accommodation arrangements for themselves and any pets or livestock.”
Elsewhere, flooding has also seen:
- River levels peaked overnight in Worcester at just under six metres and the city’s main bridge has been closed
- Levels being monitored at Upton-upon-Severn and settlements below that, including Tewkesbury
- Disruption to train services in and out of Shrewsbury station
- Villagers in Snaith, East Yorkshire, criticise authorities for failing to give them enough time to save their possessions from flood waters
Chris Bainger, from the Environment Agency, said: “We have a bit of respite, we’ve just got showers moving through over the next couple of days.
“But coming into Friday we have another band of rain coming through that’s going to be up in the Welsh mountains and that’s going to be coming to us… perhaps Saturday.
“We’ve already planned another 10 days of being on 24/7- manning of our incident rooms and having operational staff at all of our barriers.”
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