UK issues severe flood alerts as storm-swollen rivers surge

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Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn, England, Tuesday Feb. 18, 2020. Britain’s Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings Monday, advising of life-threatening danger after Storm Dennis dumped weeks’ worth of rain in some places. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

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LONDON (AP) — Residents in central England and Wales braced Tuesday for more flooding as rivers peaked in the wake of a weekend storm that brought up to 6 inches (150 mm) of rain to an already waterlogged region.

Environment agencies in England and Wales on Tuesday declared 10 severe flood warnings, meaning there is an immediate danger to life, for the rivers Severn Trent, Wye and Lugg. More than 180 less severe flood warnings were also in place.

Storm Dennis — the second major storm of the winter —- blew through the U.K. on Saturday and Sunday, bringing wind gusts of up to 90 mph (145 kph) and heavy rain that flooded roads, railways, homes and businesses. The fierce weather upended travel plans for thousands of British families trying to get away on the mid-winter school break.

It turned rivers including the Severn and the Wye, which normally meander through picturesque countryside, into raging torrents. The River Wye reached the highest level ever recorded in the central England town of Hereford.

Dave Throup, a manager in the region for the Environment Agency, tweeted; “I’ve seen things today I would not have believed. … This is not normal flooding, we are in uncharted territory.”

The storm has killed at least three people in Britain, including a 55-year-old woman who was swept away by floodwaters in the central English town of Tenbury.

The high seas churned up by the storm left an abandoned cargo ship, the MV Alta, crashed up upon the shores of County Cork, near Ballycotton, southern Ireland.

The storm also left a trail of flooding and power outages across northern Europe, including in southwestern Sweden. In Denmark, 100 people who had been evacuated late Monday due to fears that a levee might collapse began returning home Tuesday.

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