A LEADING flood campaigner has described the near record-breaking floods in the city as ‘overwhelming’ and called for more to be done to manage the danger posed by winter storms.
Mary Dhonau’s calls come as the city braces for a potential rise in river levels today (Wednesday) with eight areas of the River Severn still subject to flood warnings after the weekend deluge from Storm Dennis.
Forecasters have now estimated the Severn will peak at some point today at levels which could eclipse the floods of 2014 and make it the worst flood in the city for some 13 years.
River levels will remain high for the rest of the week with Environment Agency chiefs waiting for the impact from heavy rain forecast for Wales tomorrow (Thursday).
Speaking to the Observer, Mrs Dhonau said: “These floods are pretty overwhelming, we have seen the Environment Agency break records with the number of flood warnings issued in a single day, we have seen river levels surpassing all records, we have seen normally slow rising rivers rising quickly.
“We have had floods in Yorkshire last week, they are on their knees and now they are here. This winter has been the wettest I have known, it started raining in September and basically it hasn’t stopped and the ground is absolutely saturated.”
The keen campaigner said more investment was needed in flood risk management, not just in new flood defences.
“I look on flood risk management as a jigsaw puzzle with lots of different pieces coming together to reduce flood risk. We can never stop flooding but we can reduce the impact,” she said.
“I’m a passionate advocate for recoverable repair, when people are flooded they work with insurers to ‘build back better’ to reduce the flood risk.
“I honestly think this is the way to go to help homeowners and businesses to recover and get on with their lives as quick as they can,” she added.
Roads and business have borne the brunt of the damage with a shuttle bus operating on New Road for more than 12 hours on Monday despite the road being raised last year to cope with potential flooding.
A number of other roads in and out of the city were closed with Croft Road and Castle Street among the worst affected and still closed because of the high river levels.
Dozens of businesses close to the Severn have been affected including the Old Rectifying House which again has been forced to close its doors.
Chief Supt Tom Harding from West Mercia Police warned residents to not venture too close swollen rivers or floodwater and follow flood advice.
Visit www.flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings for more.