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end of the week? No. Had Russia heading our way and wet and windy
again. That is Hello and welcome to Midlands Today.
The headlines tonight: Fifty residents rescued from sheltered
accommodation in Worcester as the flood waters continue to rise.
Yesterday I could get to work through the laundrette, and we were
all right. But this morning when we tried to go to work there was no way
to get out. Families and businesses across the
region are feeling the force of the floods this evening.
In Herefordshire, families have been trapped as the River Wye continues
to rise. In Shropshire, flood barriers may be doing their job, but
businesses are still feeling the impact.
Of the ten museums we have had to close two.
While farmers across the region have stepped in with animal feed to help
farms submerged in floods on the Somerset Levels.
And this is what we so desperately need and what I'm sure we're all
dying to see. Believe it or not, it is still possible this week. But
will it make any difference against the backlash of rain? Find out later
how much more we can expect. Good evening. The River Severn
reached its highest recorded level in Worcester today matching the peak
in the floods of 2007. At Barbourne in the city, it hit 5.65 metres and
there are fears it could rise further. The Wye's also giving
concern. In Ross on Wye, the river's reached 4.32 metres ` still below
2007 levels but expected to rise. Across the region, there are 42
flood warnings tonight and 40 flood alerts. We've four reports tonight `
from Herefordshire and from our reporters along the Severn, in
Goucestershire, in Shropshire and first from Ben Sidwell in Worcester.
Being led to safety. The residents of these sheltered housing flats in
Worcester usually have a beautiful view of the River Severn. Today that
view was too close for comfort. Around the 43 flats 2`3 feet of
water. It is a worry. You are living next to the River Severn. We can't
get flood insurance. I have no insurance. But I have put everything
up off the floor. Specialist Water Rescue Teams from
Hereford Worcester Fire Service called in to help evacuate the 50 or
so residents. Yesterday I could get out to work through the laundrette.
But this morning when we tried to go to work there was no way we could
get out. The situation is untenable. We are moving around the corner.
Behind me there are sandbags around the wooden structure, that is a
small electricity substation. If that goes, part of the city will its
power. From the air the extent of the flooding was even more clear.
Roads, paths and fields all now just an extension of the River Severn.
And for commuters travelling around Worcester became a battle in itself.
This is the only way to get from one side of Worcester to the other. The
main bridges closed, this road is over a foot underwater. The only way
people can get from one side to the other is now by shuttle bus.
It is absolutely crazy. I've never seen anything like this. The queues
this morning were horrendous. We have got them all across. Good job.
Some did just manage to get through using another form of transport, but
with the waters still rising those crossing the bridge had fears they
may not make it back. I am worried. I have come from
Stratford`upon`Avon. I hope I can get home tonight. We will get back.
It doesn't worry us. We can stay for coffee. At least these residents
will be able to stay somewhere safe and dry now, but they're unlikely to
be the last people rescued from rising waters in Worcester this
week. Well, Ben is in the centre of Worcester now, a city of 100,000 cut
in two when the main bridge over the Severn was shut. Ben, what's the
latest? Well, the bridge remains closed. It will do for some time.
Other problems in Worcester, West tellers there are 4000 homes without
power, 10,000 homes across the West Midlands with no electricity at all.
Dave Hudson is from the Environment Agency. We are 50 metres from where
the bank should be. The worst floods we have seen. Yes, the river levels
are high. An important difference from this and 2007 is the
high`intensity rain. Tens of thousands of properties were
flooded. We are talking about 1400 properties, we have protected 10,000
or more. It is a lot, I got the numbers wrong. What about the
barriers? People are saying will it hold because there is more rain
tonight. We are confident the barriers will be OK. I was up at one
of them is morning. There was a good way to go yet. We have seen nothing
forecast that will imply anything getting to that seriousness. The
weather here is dry at the moment, very windy but it looks like there
may be some rain later. This water is still rising in the city.
Getting about is a major problem in flooded areas and roads can rapidly
become impassable, leaving families cut`off. Sarah Falkland reports on
coping with the floods in Herefordshire.
It isn't often people are quite so delighted to see a film crew but
Dave has not had any visitors for a week. Bad drainage means the roads
to his home has become a river. Horrendous. At the moment it has
reduced six inches in depth. This is the end of the lane where it is the
shallowest. At the bottom it is two feet plus. While Dave can hop over
the fields, his mother`in`law can not. She needed a first responder
team to get her to hospital. I am fed up with it. This year is worse
than last year. We went down in the 4`wheel drive and it was really
really frightening. And it must have been for anyone near the river. The
roads were all but impassable and nearby drivers had to content with
flash flooding. You have to be very very careful. I am taking it easy.
Are you OK in the floodwater? I am not hanging around. The flood water
caused problems on the main road as well. And at the farm they were
repairing the worst. The farmer is expecting cattle to be flooded out
by the morning. So much for the country but inner`city it is pretty
much business as usual. The River Wye is behaving itself, not too
menacing, only one flood warning in place but that is further
downstream. Further along the River Wye, at least one inhabitant is
oblivious of the drama. Divina the seal spotted near Monmouth. Well,
Shefali is in the newsroom. More rain to come. And lots of reports of
storm damage tonight. Virgin Trains suspending most services we've been
told. And at least 30 roads blocked in Shropshire alone? It is grim.
Yesterday we mentioned amber warnings, strong gusts of 60 miles
an hour and as you will see later, it has been confirmed by the figures
and wind speed. We haven't managed to record any huge amounts of rain
but the potential was there for an inch of rain. So expect the same
later this week. More low pressure is moving up. Gloucestershire
suffered some of the worst flooding in 2007. The worry now is that the
latest heavy rain could see some homes flooded for the first time
since then, as Steve Knibbs has been finding out.
This was a riverside caravan park ` now part of the river. The
electrical hook ups poke out of the water in the distance. With the
Severn expected to rise, the owners are once again on edge. Just packing
an overnight bag in case we have to move out. The moment we think we are
safe, not 100% certain, you have to take each day and each hour as it
comes. This is an area used to battening down the hatches. In
Longford, people are ready well in advance. People know the score, they
all have televisions. They experienced 2007.
And the sandbags keep on coming ` well over 1500 have been delivered
this week in Tewkesbury Borough alone. It is important the sandbags
are going to the right people in the right way. We deliver sandbags to
vulnerable people. But not all of them seem to be
staying put. There were two tonnes of sandbags and there was a time
taken away. The emergency services are ready
too. Today fire crews trained to launch one of their boats in the
choppy swollen river at Gloucester with serious discussions taking
place to make sure the county is ready. The local resilience Forum is
meeting, they are looking at contingency measures to be put in
place. It is an opportunity to reassure people we are doing
everything we can to make sure they stay safe. This van driver was
rescued after thinking he could make it along a flooded road. The risk
took up valuable time from the Welsh fire crews sent in to save him.
Rising river levels are posing a real threat to life and property
tonight, but so far flood barriers are doing their job. There has been
an impact, though, on businesses and tourist attractions, as Joanne
Writtle's been finding out along the River Severn in Shropshire.
Ironbridge in Shropshire ` flood barriers holding back water. But not
everywhere's escaped. A short distance away museums have been hit.
Of the ten museums through the site, we have closed two. At the antiques
and craft centre volunteers and business owners have moved stock
from the ground. This is the one thing that is put into people, to
help one another in dire need like this.
The water has seeped in once this week. They fear it'll return soon.
We are quite worried because we have 75 traders in here which is a lots
of stock and we have been moving the stock to try to protect it because
it is their businesses as well as ours.
Hit hasn't stopped raining ours and we headed further downstream where
the water is causing yet more problems. The town's golf course has
been closed for days. A few holes beside the river were initially
closed, but now swathes of the course have been affected by
constant rain. Gutted. The club is losing money obviously. We are
hoping for some fair`weather to get members back on the course playing
again and we can generate revenue. Pitches at the riverside Bridgnorth
Rugby Club are submerged. And the neighbouring children's play area
out of action. The River Severn is wild right now. And all this water
is heading to Worcestershire. Well, amidst all the concern about
rising river levels here, farmers in Somerset have been coping with
dreadful floods for a month now. Many can't get on their land and
they're struggling to find the money to feed livestock. Our Rural Affairs
Correspondent David Gregory`Kumar reports on how food aid from our
farming community is helping them survive.
Another load of donations arrives at Morton Bagot in Warwickshire. Last
Wednesday, we watched the news in the evening, watching him loading
his cattle up in the water. He was talking about where will his life be
from now on? Will he be a bit carry on farming? He is a large farmer. If
he is struggling, the smaller farmers will be struggling even more
so. So the word went out on social media and internet forums and this
is the response, tonnes of food and bedding but this is half the battle,
next you have to get it to the Somerset floodzone. Few down to
Somerset will be ?200 and that is just one cost but it is for a good
cause and if we can do our bit, we will. This help is welcomed by the
Somerset farmers. It is wonderful however one has chipped in to help
us. This donation will become feed for cattle and in the longer term
farmers will be looking to donate grass seeds so they can help farmers
in Somerset reseed the land when the water levels go down to grow grass
for cattle and sheep. When the puddles dry up on the levels they
are likely to have no grass for months and months. They are going to
be desperate for forage for a long long time. We are in this the long
haul. This help will continue long after the waters have disappeared.
We'll have the latest on the flooding a little later. But, to
keep right up to date with conditions close to you, the best
advice as always is to tune into your bbc local radio station.
The accomplice of a triple murderer has been found guilty of aiding her
sadistic killing spree. Joanna Dennehy killed three men in
Cambridgeshire and Gary Stretch helped get rid of the bodies. They
then drove to Herefordshire where Stretch used to live. In Hereford,
Dennehy stabbed two men at random ` both survived. Giles Latcham has the
background to a shocking case. Strolling hand in hand at motorway
services in Worcestershire, the odd couple ` cold`eyed killer Joanna
Dennehy and her giant sidekick seven foot three Gary Stretch. She with
three murders already to her name ` he her faithful driver and helper
and the orgy of violence was far from over. If the police in Hereford
had not intervened when they did, where this trail of destruction
would have ended is anyone's guess. She is seen with friends buying, ``
tobacco. At random she selected her first victim. It was here the car
driven by Gary Stretch pulled up, Joanna Dennehy let out and launched
a ferocious attack on a local man, a postman, walking his dog. That man
was stabbed twice in the back and shoulder. The man in the shop, Mark
Lloyd, was in the car as the attack took place. He has spoken
exclusively to the BBC. She had a knife in her hand and a smile on her
face. Is it me or is it you? She got in the car, the knife in our hand,
she kissed Gary on the cheek and said, thanks for that. Another
victim was attacked at random, a dog walker stabbed 40 times. She said
something to the effect of luck, you are bleeding, I had better do some
more. I think I said, leave me alone, please. Please leave me
alone. But she carried on. In Cambridgeshire, she had stabbed
three men and Gary Stretch helped dispose of the bodies they headed to
Herefordshire a neighbour remembers them turning up. I saw them once in
a car. It is the only time I saw her. Gary came in for breakfast and
we caught in the gentle giants because he was so polite and I can't
believe this has happened. Over the road, other neighbours remember him
differently. He played loud music late at night into the early hours
and when my dad asked him politely, he would get aggressive and
eventually it ended with him throwing potatoes across our drive
and at the windows. In April they visited a friend and took pictures,
a macabre pose with an ornamental knife and handcuffs on the
waistband. Those pictures were taken in Herefordshire. They visited the
same day they went to Hereford. She with murder in her mind. In a phone
call from prison, Gary Stretch told his ex`wife Joanna Dennehy was off
her head, something that turned him from small`time burglar to willing
accomplice in murder. Friends or lovers, the true nature of their
relationship remains their secret. But together, to a city wholly
unused to it, they brought horror both random and extreme.
Birmingham City Council's to put up its council tax by 2% as it
struggles to save ?822m by 2018. The new city library has a ?1.3m funding
gap and could have its opening hours cut. It's been confirmed 1000 jobs
will also be lost across the council. The council leader says a
survey of Birmingham people showed that they backed the increase.
It puts more money into the budget, someone said a million but it
multiplies up to three point for in subsequent years. It is a way of
avoiding further cuts. A knife surrender started in
Birmingham today in response to a number of killings. But the mother
of a teenage rapper fatally stabbed last year says she's bitterly
disappointed that she and her son's fans aren't playing a bigger part.
Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson reports.
A photo call after months of waiting the secure knife bins were on the
streets. The young the great and the good all in the spotlight. But this
woman was not invited. Alison Cope was due to play a big part in the
anti knife campaign ` her son 18`year`old Joshua Ribera was
stabbed and killed last September. Known as Depzman his music had a
growing fanbase but today his Mum felt left out in the cold. The
amount of people that loved his music and who care he isn't here,
they could reached out to all of those people by using his name with
my permission. But they have chosen not to and it is frustrating.
The New Crime Commissioner wants this initiative to be community led
getting everyone on board will be essential to its success. We hope a
second wave in South Birmingham and we need to publicise those. We are
hopeful to be able to fully involve those in the future.
For a decade knife crime in Birmingham has fallen by 75% but now
its rising again ` the police say the word amnesty is wrong there's
never a reason to carry a knife. All weapons should be surrendered. One
young musician has taken that message into local schools. A child
that feels they need to get rid of something, it is easier for them to
drop it off rather than answering to somebody. These pins alone don't
prevent knife crime, everyone says education is needed to change
attitudes and to achieve that, everyone will have to work together.
Onto football now and West Bromwich Albion's one`all draw with Chelsea
means they're now out of the bottom three. The Premier League leaders
went in front just before half`time at the Hawthorns. But Pepe Mel's men
fought back. And three minutes from the end, Victor Anichebe scored to
earn a valuable point. The perfect tonic before West Brom fly off to
Spain for six days warm`weather training. Aston Villa were denied
victory by the Cardiff City goalkeeper David Marshall. It
finished 0`0. You can see all of the goals on Match Of The Day tonight.
Storm damage causing major cancellations on Virgin Trains and
many roads are blocked. It is looking dreadful. Yes, the north and
west of the region has borne the brunt of the damaging winds and the
wind speed we have seen across the western fringes would seem to bear
that out. They have exceeded 60 mph. Onto the rainfall totals and
those have not been as impressive. The totals began to mount up after
48 hours. A few saw that, Hereford seems to have been the wettest place
in the region without 290 millimetres of rain. We could see
more of that by Friday. When the low pressure system is out of the way,
we have one days grace and then this next system, and Atlantic glow
rattled up. It is coupled with strong winds with wraparound
occlusion. Yellow warnings for the rain coming on Friday, it will
amount to an inch of rain. It is all totting up and river levels are
getting higher. Not great news and more flooding is on the way. For the
time being, we are running the risk of some strong gusts across northern
and western parts, this is one of the windiest spells of the day this
evening and night. After that, they will start to ease but we are
looking at a dry periods towards the end of the night but a few showers
running across the south and they could turn wintry. Lows of around 12
Celsius in towns and cities but lower than that in rural spots.
Tomorrow, a dry day, a few showers around the region and tomorrow will
be a cold day but some sunshine and the respite from the rain until
Friday. Staying with the flooding here and a report now from Sian
Lloyd in Bewdley. She's spent the day in the picturesque
Worcestershire town on the banks of the River Severn where families are
waiting nervously tonight and hoping that the flood barriers will keep
the rising waters at bay. The defences have never been tested to
this extent. The River Severn is continuing to rise with another peak
expected on Friday. Without these defences, Bewdley would be
underwater. The town has suffered severe flooding in the past and the
people who live along the river are taking chances. Flood barriers and
sandbags and it is just a precaution really because I know the river can
come up. We have never had it this high before but we never had the
defences before. This is trying the defences out. Lindsay is feeling the
effects of the weather. She has cancelled bookings for her holiday
cottage but a pump is keeping the worst at bay. It is the water table
levels. There is so much water in the ground it has to go somewhere so
it comes to the floor and it takes the access waterway otherwise I
would be knee deep. People here tell me they have never seen the river so
high. It matches the peak of the record`breaking floods of 2007. This
barrier currently is 1.65 metres high, it is keeping back the River
Severn. But it needs to go higher. Bewdley had its big investment in
flood defences that other communities are now calling for.
Contingency plans are in place, rest centres will be set up should
evacuation be needed. Fingers crossed for everybody there. Live
now to Worcester. How is the city coping? Well, Worcester is a city
used to flooding but even by their standards this is pretty bad. The
town has been split into, many roads including the river bridge are
closed. Those people living around the river whose properties have not
flooded will spend most of the night battling to keep properties dry. And
with these levels still rising, it will be a tough night and a very
long few days for the people of Worcester.
That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock with the very
latest on the floodwaters. Have a good evening. Bye for now.