A month of rain in one day - forecast

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A MONTH’S worth of rainfall lashed across Worcestershire in just one day, causing traffic chaos.

The deluge yesterday turned some main and back roads into rivers, with about 10 of them closed at various points as they became impassable.

One of the worst affected was the A443 at Great Witley, near Worcester, whileMalvern, Suckley and Leigh Sinton were the areas worst affected.

At one point the Laugherne Brook burst its gully and over-topped the Martley to Worcester Road near Wichenford, claiming at least two cars whose drivers attempted to ford the road.

A fallen tree partially closed North End Lane in Malvern. School routes were also affected, particularly in rural areas.

Adding to the traffic woes was a rush hour shunt on the M5 motorway northbound involving a lorry and a car which initially shut all three lanes between junctions 6 and 7, both at Worcester, at about 8.30am. The female driver of the car was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for an X-ray after complaining of back and neck pain.

Then at 9.47am a 7.5- tonne lorry and a 4x4 crashed near the Swan pub at Newland on the A449 Malvern to Worcester Road, stopping all traffic for almost an hour before one lane was reopened.

Two drivers, both male, suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital.

Hereford and Worcester fire brigade also carried out several rescues from vehicles, including three at Broadbridge, near Bromyard – one involving the rescue of horses from a horsebox.

At the heart of the problem was an unstable low pressure weather system – a hangover from Hurricane Nadine which was blowing in across the UK from the Atlantic, bringing with it “a lot of moisture”, said David Throup the Environment Agency ’s area manager.

The agency was expecting brooks, including Barbourne Brook, to peak overnight while rivers such as the Severn could take until Wednesday to peak.

The unrelenting weather caused a jump in roadside assistance work with the RAC posting an increase of 25 per cent in call-outs.

Meanwhile, flood-hit householders are still waiting for a decision on how to insure their homes affordably from next year.

The Worcestershire-based National Flood Forum yesterday called for the pace of talks between government and the insurance industry to be brought to a speedier conclusion.

Charles Tucker, flood forum chairman, has written in an open letter to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson that “talking should stop and action begin.”

He said the talks had gone on for two years, and there was still no agreement to replace the current ‘statement of principles’ deal which keeps the cost of flood insurance premiums affordable.

It runs out next summer.

A Defra spokesman said the talks “had made great progress”. The Government favours a cross-subsidy, so the lower risk, lower-premium households will pay a little more so those in high flood risk areas can be subsidised to pay less.

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