Hundreds Evacuated as Rivers Overflow After Days of Heavy Rainfall
Torrential rainfall from Storm Henk has caused devastating flooding across central and eastern England over the past week, leaving homes underwater, train lines closed, and residents evacuated.
Emergency Declared in Nottinghamshire as River Trent Bursts Banks
The Environment Agency has declared a “major incident” in Nottinghamshire after the River Trent burst its banks, turning streets into canals in North Muskham and Carlton-on-Trent. Over 500 homes have flooded, forcing hundreds to evacuate.
“The flooding we have seen today is unprecedented during such a short timeframe,” said local official Simon McDonald. “Requests for help have come from across the county – for flooded properties, stranded motorists and landslides blocking roads.”
Residents clambered into boats to retrieve possessions from drowned homes. “People are trying to make sure things upstairs aren’t going to get damaged,” said Carlton resident Andrew, whose home flooded for the first time in 35 years.
London Transport Chaos as Tube Stations and Roads Underwater
In London, tube stations and major roads were submerged under floodwaters that poured in “like a tsunami wave”, said Hackney Wick resident Sven. Punching a hole through his living room wall to let water escape, he surveyed the wreckage of his home and business.
Lambeth North and Hackney Wick stations were forced to close, along with multiple key routes including the A406 North Circular. Continuing rainfall threatens further transport disruption over the weekend.
|Lambeth North station
|Closed due to flooding
|Hackney Wick Station
|Closed due to flooding
|A406 North Circular
|Closed eastbound at Redbridge
Flood Defences Overwhelmed as Thames Reaches Record Levels
Spillways along the Thames have started overflowing as water levels smashed all-time records, prompting evacuation warnings for communities along its banks like Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.
England’s engineering wonders have proven no match for the sheer volume of rainfall. In Tewkesbury, flood defences built after devastating floods in 2007 have been overwhelmed, putting the town at high risk.
“It’s almost biblical, I’ve never seen anything like it in the 35 years I’ve lived here,” said Tewkesbury resident Simon.
Government Faces Backlash as Flood Misery Mounts
As the floodwaters rose, so did public anger at the government’s response. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has faced heavy criticism over slashed funding for flood defences despite repeated warnings about increasing extreme weather due to climate change.
“The Prime Minister should be convening emergency Cobra meetings and getting crews on the ground to support people, not posing for photos and denying this is a national emergency,” said Labour Party leader Angela Rayner.
The government blamed Storm Henk’s rare severity but vowed to improve flood resilience, announcing £150 million in new flood defence funding. But some experts dismissed it as “too little, too late”.
“The government has cut more money from flood defences in real terms over the last decade than the savings announced today,” said economist Simon Evans.
Flood Misery Set to Persist as More Rain Forecast
Across the country, over 500 flood warnings remained in place as the Met Office predicted more heavy rain over the weekend.
Communities already underwater faced a nervous wait to see whether temporary flood barriers would hold, and how much further the waters would rise.
In York, the River Ouse peaked at record levels on Thursday before receding – but is forecast to rise again. Other swollen waterways like the Severn, Nene and Yare also threaten renewed flooding dangers.
“There are still risks ahead,” warned Met Office chief forecaster Neil Armstrong. “People should keep abreast of weather warnings and prepare for disruption to travel.”
As England surveys the mounting damage, the long recovery is only just beginning for thousands whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. This week’s floods may fade from the headlines, but their impact on flooded communities will be felt for months and years ahead.
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