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Storm batters county
WEATHER chaos has struck Worcestershire today as county services worked together to pull cars out of water, clear the roads of trees and limit flooding.
As the pre-Christmas storm battered the country, the Met Office issued yellow warnings in Worcestershire for rain, strong winds and flooding on the river Severn.
More than 20 fallen trees and branches were removed from roads today, including one on the A449 at Dunhampton.
The extreme weather is expected to last into tomorrow with the river at Diglis due to reach between 5.8 and 6.3 metres by Christmas Day, although no buildiings are thought to be at risk.
In a statement on the Met Office’s website, it said Worcestershire was expected to get between 20 and 30mm of rain which could lead to localised flooding, and also that gusts were predicted to be between 50 and 60mph.
Motorists were warned to be aware of surface water and flooded fords and West Mercia Police urged drivers to alter their driving style accordingly.
A family of four driving in Himbleton, near Droitwich, got their car stuck in a ford after they thought it was shallow enough to drive though.
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene at 1.40pm today to pull the car out of the water. The family had been able to get out of the car and walk to safety.
A spokesman for the service said: “People think they can drive through them then they get stuck but they need to be careful because they can get washed away.
“Luckily in this case the family were able to walk out but we don’t recommend that because who knows what can happen.”
The A44 Evesham Road at Fladbury, Ledbury High Street, Greenhill in Evesham, B4219 at Storridge, Upper and Lower Broadheath, and Upton-upon-Severn were some of the areas affected by flooding and surface water.
The county council sent out maintenance gangs to empty gullies and deal with fallen trees.
Peter Blake, head of integrated transport, said: "We're responding to any problems as they arise from the forecasted heavy rainfall and high winds. We'll be constantly monitoring the situation on our roads.”
London Midland is among rail companies running an emergency timetable with many services across the country cancelled or delayed.
Robin Gisby, managing director of operational services for Network Rail, said: "Our fundamental concern over the next 48 hours is to get everyone where they want to be for Christmas.
"It won't be an easy task given the forecast conditions and disruption is likely - but I want to be very clear that our priority is running as many trains as we can safely, rather than worrying about hitting the timetable bang on.”
For up-to-date weather information over the festive season visit the Met Office website at metoffice.gov.uk and for the latest information regarding flooding visit the Environment Agency website at environment-agency.gov.uk or follow #floodaware on Twitter.
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