A severe flood warning has been issued for Ironbridge, the River Severn could breach flood defences.
The warning indicates there is a significant threat to life as water levels rise.
Due to the current river levels and ground conditions, there is potential for levels to flow over the defences along the Wharfage causing flooding of property and roads on and around the Wharfage.
Residents from around 30 homes in Ironbridge have been evacuated. At around 8.15am Telford & Wrekin Council teams began to evacuate the residents who were taken to a rest centre provided by Cleo’s café on the High Street.
Water pressure from the river is causing the road surface to crack, with officers on site helping around 30 homes to evacuate. Some residents decided not to leave their properties.
Emergency response partners including West Mercia Police, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and Telford & Wrekin Council are working together to keep people safe.
Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: “We know residents want to stay in their homes and understand it is an inconvenience for them to leave but it really is in their best interests to do so.
“The barrier is in place however there are concerns levels could exceed the this and due to the volume there is concern around the integrity of the riverbank and road that supports the barrier. We will be revisiting affected properties to highlight that while it may look ok at the moment this could happen quickly and put people at significant risk so as a precaution we would really ask residents to find alternative arrangements.
“We anticipate levels could remain high for the next few days so anyone who does decide to stay put could find themselves cut off for a considerable amount of time.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Due to current river levels and ground conditions, there is now the potential for the Ironbridge barrier to become ineffective.
“Floodwater may overtop the Ironbridge temporary barrier on the current forecast. Consequently, flooding of property and roads along the Wharfage in Ironbridge is potentially imminent.
“River levels are forecast to rise at the Buildwas river gauge to between 6.5 and 6.7m.”
Chief Superintendent Tom Harding from West Mercia Police and on behalf of the multi-agency flood response, said: “The water levels are rising higher than was initially anticipated so we are working together with our emergency response partners to evacuate a small number of residents in Ironbridge.
“Our absolute priority is their safety and the safety of the public and we’re very grateful for the support we have received and are asking the community in the affected areas to make alternative arrangements where they can, if they can stay with family or friends or make use of the rest centre that has been set up.
“We know some people want to stay in their homes but we would really ask that for their own safety they find alternative arrangements. The levels could remain high for a few days and while they are fine now the situation could change rapidly. Not only are they risking their own safety but the safety of emergency services who ultimately could have to rescue them. Our absolute priority is the safety of local residents and I must stress the decision to evacuate residents is not something that has been taken lightly. We’re doing everything we can to keep people safe and want to avoid any unnecessary risks.”
Telford & Wrekin Council yesterday supplied around 2,000 sandbags to businesses and properties.
A Telford and Wrekin Council spokesperson said: “We have been working with residents overnight to keep them updated. Sandbags are still available to collect from Station Yard car park and the Ironbridge Park & Ride site.”
A specialist contractor for Telford & Wrekin Council has removed 21 cars off the Wharfage & Dale End car parks that were at risk of damage from flooding. These have been taken to the Ironbridge Park and Ride site from where the owners can pick them up.
The following roads in the Gorge are closed Dale Rd, Wharfage, The Lloyds, Lloyd’s Head. Drivers should not drive through flood water.
Emergency issues can be reported to Telford & Wrekin Council by calling 01952 384000 or if it’s an out of hours emergency 03451 559955. For emergency services dial 999.