Sep 28 2012
Water levels are finally receding in rivers swollen by the most intense September storm for 30 years.
Heavy downpours in parts of the UK since Sunday have raised river levels and flooded hundreds of homes and businesses.
A couple may have drowned trying to rescue their dog from a swollen river near Wrexham, north Wales. And an 11-year-old by struck by lightning outside his school in Swindon, Wiltshire, is in a stable condition in hospital.
Around 570 properties have been flooded across England and Wales because of the storm, and railways and roads were swamped by high water levels.
River levels remain high in the areas worst hit by the bad weather, including in York where around 100 properties are flooded and the Ouse has reached a peak of more than five metres above normal - the second highest level recorded. But the Environment Agency said many river levels have now peaked, and are expected to fall throughout the morning.
At Leeman Road in York the River Ouse was flowing at 4.8m (15ft 9in), while the River Aire at Hensall is gradually falling. The Ouse is expected to remain at its peak for the next 24 hours, but officials in the historic city are optimistic that the flood defences will hold. Efforts, including the help of soldiers, to put thousands of sandbags on top of existing flood defences at the nearby village of Cawood have protected several hundred homes.
The Environment Agency said there were 27 flood warnings and 34 flood alerts in place, mostly across the North East.
People living close to a block of townhouses in Newburn, Newcastle, whose foundations were exposed when floodwater gouged out the ground under the building, were evacuated again on Thursday night. Residents of Spencer Court in Mill Vale who had spent the last two nights in temporary accommodation were also asked to leave again as a precaution.
Alicia Williams, 25, who has a young daughter, and boyfriend David Platt, also 25, were found dead on Wednesday by the River Clywedog, near Wrexham, North Wales, where they had been walking their dogs. It is feared that the couple entered the river trying to rescue one of their dogs and drowned in fast currents caused by the heavy rainfall.
The family of Joe Compton, who was hit by lightning as he stood in the car park of Dorcan Academy, in Swindon, thanked PE staff and leisure centre staff who came to his aid, saying they owe a "huge amount of thanks" to them.