Floods clean-up begins but river levels yet to peak
MAJOR clear-ups began yesterday as Gloucestershire started counting the cost of the latest floods.
But more misery could be on the way as river levels across the county were not expected to peak until last night and this morning. Showers and strong winds are expected tomorrow, with temperatures also plunging.
A rest centre has been set up over flooding fears in Maisemore, Sandhurst and Tewkesbury.
At the time of going to press, no homes had been evacuated according to the borough council but highways officials said the A417 through Maisemore would remain closed early today.
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In Upper Lydbrook, fire crews had pumped most of the waist-high water into the River Wye by yesterday morning.
Andy and Christine Finch-Dent only moved there in July when they bought Ferndale House bed and breakfast. One of the self-catering cottages, occupied by holidaymakers, was under several inches of water as the stream at the back of the property spilled over.
"On our website it says we're next to a babbling brook. It's been more like a raging torrent," said Andy.
But the couple said community spirit has come to the rescue.
"We were woken up at 5.30am by one of our neighbours warning us the drive was flooding and everyone has been just superb," said Christine.
Julie Pugh and partner Lee Brown have had both their cars written off and about seven inches of water in their home.
"You just feel helpless," said Julie. "You instinctively want to mop it up as it's coming in but it's useless."
They had to be rescued by fire crews before going to stay with relatives nearby.
It was one of 190 separate flooding incidents recorded by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue since Friday.
Firefighters and highways teams spent much of yesterday unblocking culverts and drains.
At Chalford Valley Bottom in Stroud the River Frome flooded at least six homes.
Environment Agency records taken yesterday morning showed the river level at Chalford at 0.72 metres compared to the previous record of 0.67 metres in January 2008.
Tenant Caroline Hough only moved in to rent a picturesque house beside the water a few months ago after her husband Steve's job brought them and their children from Australia. The fire brigade did everything they could do. They came down in response to a call from the parish council," Mrs Hough said. "We knew it was coming so we got as much upstairs as we could."
Neighbour Jackie Hunt held her dog Oscar in her arms to stop him being swept away in the force of the swollen river water.
Mrs Hunt and her husband Malcolm's efforts with 300 sandbags and five pumps saved their house from the flood. "The one thing that is important is how everybody was just so good helping one another," Mrs Hunt said.