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Silver Command Press Release

Reassurance Following Latest Weather Update - 5pm Friday 18 Jan

Gloucestershire residents should feel reassured about the immediate threat of flooding but remain vigilant following the latest weather forecasts. Latest Met Office information indicates that rainfall in the county will not be substantial during the next 48 hours and the Environment Agency has confirmed the situation is very different to that of July.

Met Office representative Arwyn Harris had a positive message about predicted rainfall during the next 48 hours. He said: "We expect it to be mild, breezy and drizzly across Gloucestershire with a few spells of more persistent rain, particularly during the early hours of this morning, but nothing particularly unusual for the county for this time of the year, although there will be enough rain to give some spray and tricky driving conditions on roads."

However, explaining that the situation would be constantly monitored, he added: "There will be a lot of rain falling across parts of Wales and Northern England today, with that heavy rain continuing to affect parts of Wales and Northern England across the weekend, and into Monday as well. That is a concern because some of that rain will feed into the headwaters of the River Severn, and then will eventually move downstream.

"We are working with colleagues from the Environment Agency, both here and from our Exeter Headquarters, to help them predict the effects this rainfall will have on river levels over the next few days."

He added there are 'hints' of a dry spell towards the beginning of next week but these can not be confirmed yet.

Judith Payne of the Environment Agency also gave a reassuring analysis of the latest information. She said: "We're not expecting any major problems. We're expecting the River Severn in the Gloucester area to peak this evening but for levels to stay stable. There is a lot of water in the system but most of the smaller river and tributary levels are decreasing and we're within the levels of defences. We are aware of some seepages in these so we have teams out with pumps to work on this and monitor them.

"By about Tuesday or Wednesday next week we expect to see some of the rainfall over Wales coming through the rivers so it may mean the level comes back up again after dipping down but what we have is a reasonably steady state."

Adding that no tidal influences were expected during the weekend, she too reassured members of the public that the situation was being monitored around the clock but stressed the current situation is markedly different from that of the summer.

She said: "We understand that people's concerns have been heightened by the July floods but what we've got now is not the same scenario. Then we had a significant amount of rain here in one go, now we're not predicting heavy rain for this area. The issue now is water coming through the river system and we're watching that closely. That should only be a major problem if we get far more than is predicted and by monitoring rainfall elsewhere we will know in advance of any issues. We must remember it's not unusual to have flooding at this time of year."

Chief Inspector Paul Riddick said: "It's reassuring that these predictions are not as bad as had been feared. But forecasts can change very quickly and we will continue to work very closely with our partner agencies and we will maintain Silver Control 24-7 so we are prepared in any event.

"We are doing all we can to be ready for any eventuality. Please do your bit by tuning into your local radio to listen to messages and keeping an eye on your neighbours should things get worse. If you're planning a journey, leave plenty of time. The message is it's business as usual but exercise common sense and take sensible precautions."

Gloucestershire Constabulary this afternoon hosted a multi-agency planning meeting to confirm that effective measures are in place should the weather situation worsen.

This press release was issued by Gloucestershire Constabulary, 01452 335071.

Posted : 19/01/2008 14:09:47

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