Published on 27 Nov 2012 Sections

Body found in flooded home in Wales

A body is pulled from a flooded home in Wales amidst severe warnings of potential danger to life. Homes, roads and cars are submerged.

The body of an elderly woman was pulled from a flooded home in Tair-Felin, St Asaph in Wales, police said today.

Officers conducting house-to-house checks discovered the body of the woman at noon today. There were no suspicious circumstances but officers launched an investigation into the death which was being treated as unexplained.

Local councillor Dewi Owen has said the family of the woman are devastated; “I was very, very sorry, to hear what happened, an elderly lady of that age to have an end in these circumstances is very tragic. We don’t know yet what happened to her.”

Another three people have died since the bout of wet weather struck, a man killed when his 4×4 was submerged after getting wedged under a bridge in Somerset was reported today to have been John McNair, a 77-year-old grandfather of ten.

The Evening Standard reported that Mr McNair, the former chairman of the East Lewisham Conservative Association in London, was on his way home to his farm in Painscastle, Powys, after visiting his son in the village of Chew Stoke when he died.

About 960 properties have flooded since last Wednesday and some 900 people have left their homes. Five hundred others were encouraged to pack their bags and move until the risk subsided.

Insurance row

Prime Minister David Cameron has now promised to take a “tough approach” to negotiations with insurers over homes in flooding risk areas.

There are 200,000 high risk properties that face being priced out of affordable insurance cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the Labour government and insurers ends next year.

Talks have been going on for two years but an agreement has not been reached. Mr Cameron has said he is sure a deal will be done; “We are in negotiations at the moment”.

“We need to take a tough approach frankly and it’s important insurance companies do what they are meant to, which is provide insurance to households and we are going to make sure that happens.”

Severe flood warnings in Wales

The Elwy, which was still rising on Monday afternoon, reached in a record high of 14ft 3in (4.35m) at St Asaph. Typically, the river level at this spot varies between 3ft (0.90m) and 6ft 7in (2.02m).

The Environment Agency earlier on Monday issued two severe flood warnings in Wales indicating a potential danger to life and warned of a continued flooding threat across north east England and Northamptonshire.

River levels were set to peak in the next 48 hours, putting further properties at risk, with the Thames, Trent and the Severn deemed to be of particular concern.

Rail service delays

In the west country, the First Great Western (FGW) train company advised passengers not to travel in the Tiverton Parkway area. Trains were not running between Tiverton Parkway and Exeter St David’s, and there were no CrossCountry services between Exeter St David’s and Taunton.

Buses replaced trains between Exeter St David’s and Barnstaple in Devon. Limited services resumed today between Exeter St David’s and Yeovil Junction. But buses continued to replace trains between Bristol Parkway and Patchway and between Liskeard and Looe in Cornwall. FGW did not expect to be able to run its sleeper services today.

A section of the M25 was shut between junction 17 at Maple Cross in Hertfordshire and junction 16 with the M40 near Uxbridge after an accident with long delays on the anti-clockwise part of the road. Traffic was diverted and queues built up on surrounding roads.

Flooding also hit rail services in Wales. Buses had to replace trains between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Regular updates were available on the National Rail website.

Roads waterlogged

In north east Wales, parts of the A19 main arterial route and cross-country A66 had to be closed due to flooding.

The Highways Agency website also offered regular flood updates as Traffic Wales, Traffic England, Traffic Scotland and Trafficwatch Northern Ireland.

There were delays between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Newcastle due to flooding near Morpeth in Northumberland, while flooding at Hartlepool meant buses had to replace trains between Seaham and Middlesbrough.

A landslip continued to cause disruption in Surrey, with the Southern train company having to run a reduced service between London and Horsham in Sussex. A lineside equipment problem caused disruption at Birmingham New Street, with trains travelling through the busy station being delayed.

The forecast

The Met Office forecast was for heavy rain and strong winds across all parts of the country over the weekend, with the most persistent rain on Monday afternoon in western England and parts of Wales.

River flooding is likely with the possibility of significant disruption, particularly across Devon, North Somerset, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Wales, the Met said.

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