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Somerset flooding confirmed as worst on record

By WMNlynbarton  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

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Flooding on the Somerset Levels. Photo by Richard Austin.

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The flooding on the Somerset Levels is the worst ever experienced, even outstripping the appalling conditions suffered last year.

According to the Environment Agency, the water which has swamped the region will take weeks to remove.

In some places, pumps cannot operate because river levels are still too high as there is simply nowhere to evacuate the water to.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said last year’s flood on the Somerset Moors and Levels had been the worst on record - until this year.

“This is now the biggest ever flooding event in this area in terms of extent and volume.” he said.

According to estimates made by the agency, the Somerset Levels and Moors are under 65million cubic metres of water - an astonishing amount given a single cubic metre is equivalent to 220 gallons.

A total of 62 pumps have been deployed, although only 32 are running with more expected to be brought on line as river level drop.

The Environment Agency said extra staff had been drafted in and that every day they were meeting with people who had suffered because of the flooding.

“Our people are out doing their job and they are very aware of the distress, upset and anxiety that people are experiencing.

“They are making contact with people hour by hour who are feeling the pain of this event.”

In the village of Muchelney, which has become an island because of the deluge, a ferry system organised by Somerset County Council is still in operation.

The Environment Agency said it could take weeks for the situation to return to normal and a period of dry weather was required.

The Met Office was unable to bring much hope of that, saying a “standard week” of January weather was on the cards although the worst of the weather had swept through the region.

Forecasters said tomorrow would be largely dry, although showers will sweep in this evening bringing an estimated 10-120mm of rain.

A mixture of dry weather and some showers has been forecast for the rest of the week, with Friday expected to be the best day.

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