14 Nov 2014

Rain, floods and collapsed M25 – but no repeat of February

Weather Presenter

Heavy rain and gales sweeping across the UK have brought flooding and travel disruption to some parts of the UK.

M25 Closure

Britain’s busiest motorway, the M25, descended into chaos this morning after a section of road appeared to collapse in heavy rain, following overnight maintenance.

Potholes formed on the M25 at junction 9 near Leatherhead in Surrey, leading to three lanes clockwise between junction 9 and 11 at Addlestone closed.

Long delays built up, with those heading for Gatwick airport in West Sussex among many of the drivers affected.

Around mid-morning, a Highways Agency spokesman said: “Three lanes on the anti-clockwise M25 and the exit slip road at junction 9 remain closed as we work to investigate the cause of and to repair a defect in the road surface.

They added: “Safety is our top priority and we are doing all we can to reopen the lanes quickly as possible. In the meantime we advise drivers to avoid this section of the anti-clockwise M25 and seek alternative routes.”

Elsewhere, there were tailbacks on the M3 in Hampshire, while accidents caused hold-ups on the M6 just north of Birmingham and on the M50 between Tewkesbury and Ross-on-Wye.

Somerset Levels flood fears

Residents of the Somerset Levels are closely watching increasing river levels in the area, following a week of heavy rain.

However a repeat of February’s flooding which devastated homes, businesses, agriculture and wildlife, is currently unlikely.

Following the devastating floods earlier this year, a project to widen the riverbanks of the River Tone and the River Parrett has taken place, finishing on October 31. A five-mile section of both rivers has also been dredged.

Rebecca Horsington of the flood campaign group Flag welcomed this but said that a long-term commitment needs to be made to continue dredging the rivers.

She said: “It’s very frustrating because we know it needs to be done, the river levels are high but it’s not doing much unusual for this time of year.”

Environment Agency flood alerts

The Environment Agency (EA) has 20 flood alerts in place across south east and the west of England, the Midlands and Pembrokeshire in west Wales.

The EA said that localised river flooding is possible for parts of south-west Wales, east Devon and the south-east of England. There could be spray and waves topping coastal defences and promenades.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it is expecting further heavy rain in Tayside, Angus and Aberdeenshire through today and into the weekend.

An EA spokesman said: “There may be further isolated showers over the next few days but river levels are dropping and the risk of flooding is very low. We’ll continue to monitor river levels closely and keep local communities informed.”

They added: “In Somerset some agricultural floodplain is currently storing water as a result of planned management of river levels. This is completely normal for this time of year. We are not expecting any properties to flood. It would take very heavy rainfall over a long period of time to put homes at risk.”

This weekend will see showers, rather than prolonged spells of rain for much of the UK, allowing river levels to recede.

However, more rain sweeping in off the Atlantic towards the middle of next week will mean that the risk of localised flooding may return for a time.

From rain to sunshine

Despite a morning of heavy rain, sunshine returned for much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland during Friday afternoon.

The picture below shows the back edge of the weather front that brought the heavy rain clearing over Cambridge, revealing blue sky and sunshine.

Road image: Surrey Roads Police