Friday, 24 January 2014

Latest from EA (24/1/14)

Friday 24 January 2014
Weather forecast
Friday: Light rain/drizzle (up to 12mm) is expected until approximately 20:00.
Saturday: Saturday is expected to be dry, with the possibility of occasional showers.
Sunday: A thin band of rain, with possible intense showers, is expected between 09:00 to 15:00. This rain will last for 4 to 6 hours. 10-15mm of rain is expected.
General information
We are continuing with works to the banks of the River Parrett. We are placing large dumpy bags of clay material, on the left bank of the River Parrett just downstream of the main Road Bridge at Burrowbridge and working downstream towards Newhouse Farm. The dumpy bags will provide additional protection in time for the high tides which could further affect levels on the Parrett towards the end of next week.
Those residents directly affected are aware of the work. We are not looking to close the roads but wanted to raise awareness of our working locations and possible disruption. Works are likely to continue until Saturday and there may be some access disruption to Huntworth Lane downstream of Moorland.
We will have field staff positioned to advise road users of possible delays and alternative routes within the area.  
Flooding situation
There are still five flood warnings in place cross the area; all of which are on the Somerset Levels and Moors.
The levels on the upper reaches of the Somerset Levels and Moors (upstream of Langport) are rising following last night’s rainfall and will remain sensitive and respond quickly to any further rain. Levels on the lower reaches of the catchment are stable but remain high.
Significant issues still include:
  • Muchelney, Thorney and Langport – As you will know, the roads leading to the villages of Muchelney and Thorney remain flooded and impassable. The river levels remain high, but our monitoring equipment is showing that they are now beginning to drop. We are now able to operate additional pumps. Currently Midelney is running two pumps, with a third pump ready to operate, if levels allow. Huish Episcopi has three pumps running to full capacity. Long Load has one pump operating. We are continually monitoring the situation. 
Please bear in mind that the rivers react very quickly to additional water and as a result any pumping may be short-term to avoid flooding further downstream. 
If you or someone you know is in a vulnerable position please contact your local district council for help – South Somerset District Council covers the Muchelney and Thorney area.
  • The situation on Curry Moor remains the same. The moor is full and the spillways at Hookbridge and Athelney are still running. We are monitoring the situation closely at Curry Moor and hope to commence pumping as soon as conditions allow.
Some people have requested that we continue to include information on the local roads, the A361 remains closed and this will be the case until the spillways stop running and we are in a position to start pumping at Curry Moor. The high spring tides at the end of next week will also impact on our ability to pump.
Bankland Wall at Athelney Farm is one of the numerous structures on the Somerset Levels and Moors that holds water. Over the last few days, during a routine inspection we noticed some water coming through the bank, to avoid the situation getting worse we have put some sandbags in place as a precautionary measure. Once the water levels on Curry Moor fall, we will carry out necessary repairs.
  • Saltmoor and Northmoor pumping stations are still operating at full capacity. An additional fifteen temporary pumps are currently operating to support these pumping stations. As many of you will be aware, the only remaining access road to Moorland is now impassable for smaller vehicles. Stathe Road from Burrowbridge to Stathe also remains impassable for smaller vehicles. Levels have stabilised and are starting to recede at Saltmoor as a result of the continual pumping. Levels at Northmoor are currently stable at the pumping station.
To help us to manage pumping operations and water levels in the area, we will be reconfiguring the layout of the pumps at Northmoor and Saltmoor. Please rest assured that the capacity to pump will remain the same. In order for us to carry out this work, there will be some disruption to Huntworth Lane between the hours of 09.30 – 14.00 tomorrow.
  • Sowy – The levels on the Sowy are rising slightly. The A372 between Othery and Langport is now passable
  • Westonzoyland – Levels have stabilised. The temporary pumps remain in place at Westonzoyland Pumping Station. Levels have also stabilised on the King’s Sedgemoor Drain.
  • West Sedgemoor – The levels at West Sedgemoor Pumping Station are stable and two pumps are currently running to help control these levels. The local roads are now impassable and some isolated properties are now cut off. If you or someone you know is in a vulnerable position please contact your local district council for help - Taunton Deane Borough Council covers the West Sedgemoor area.
  • Kingsmoor - Levels in Kingsmoor remain stable. We are now operating one pump at Long Load and the gravity outlet is operational.
  • Brue and Axe – River levels in the catchment remain high but stable with no significant issues.
It is important to note that this is an ever-changing situation. Managing the pumping operations is a fine balance – we need to ensure that by lowering water levels in one area, it does not increase the flood risk to property in another.
Please be assured that we continue to monitor levels in the catchments 24 hours a day and operate additional pumps as soon as it is possible to do so. You will appreciate that because the flooding is widespread, we have to consider the effects of flood water throughout the area and operate the different pumping stations accordingly.
It is important to bear in mind that any further rainfall will cause the rivers to rise and could alter any pumping regime.
Any information on road closures are to the best of our knowledge – please contact the Highways Department at Somerset County Council for more information.
For weather updates please keep an eye on local TV and radio and visit our website to see the flood warnings in force. Click here for latest details.
Our Incident Hotline No is 0800 807060 and ask to speak to the Flood Incident Duty Officer for the area.
Floodline No: 0845 988 188.

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