Warning issued to motorists in Norfolk and Suffolk as wet weather causes continued risk of flooding
PUBLISHED: 21:29 07 February 2014 | UPDATED: 21:29 07 February 2014
Motorists are being warned to take extra care on the region’s roads this weekend as saturated ground brings a continued risk of floods in any fresh rainfall.
Norfolk is expected to miss out on the most severe weather this weekend but there are concerns that with many parts of the county’s 6,000 miles of road proving slow to drain, or being flooded by run-off from surrounding fields, there will be a repeat of some of the chaotic scenes already experienced.
Floods forced the council to close the B1110 at North Elmham today. Water from surrounding fields overwhelmed attempts to reduce the flood and a diversion has been set up using the B1145 and the A1067. With further rain expected over the weekend, the road is expected to remain impassable and closed until Monday at the earliest.
Highways teams today inspected known flooding trouble-spots and arranged for water to be removed by tanker where necessary.
They came across a number of motorists who had become stranded after misjudging the depth of flood water. Generally it was a slowly improving picture during the day, but with further heavy rain forecast, this could change very quickly.
Highway Maintenance Manager Nick Tupper said: “The ground was already very wet before Thursday night’s heavy rain, and it is now completely saturated. In many places ditches and drains in surrounding land are overflowing on to the highway, and road soakaway drains are ineffective.
“Our highways teams will do what they can, but even where floods have subsided, any more rainfall over the next few days could quickly lead to more water on the roads, so it is important that people take extra care.”
While Norwich and coastal parts of the region have largely escaped problems caused by the bad weather, parts of south Norfolk have been badly affected,
Tonight the Environment Agency has 37 flood warnings in place (flooding expected - second highest level) in the east, including but in Norfolk the only warning was at Wendling Beck from Wendling to Worthing.
There were 45 flood alerts (flooding possible) including the River Thet including Thetford and Brandon and the Little Ouse and tributaries in Norfolk and Suffolk, River Tud and the River Wensum from Great Ryburgh to Lenwade, Rivers Yare & Tiffey upstream of Marlingford, River Bure and Spixworth Beck, River Waveney from Diss to Ellingham, including Bungay.
In south Norfolk a bin crew waded to the rescue of a mother and her children after their car became trapped in flood water in a ford.
The three man crew from South Norfolk Council leapt to the aid of the mum when she became stuck in Steeple Lane, Aslacton while they were out doing their collections this morning.
They saw her car stuck in the water and leapt into action.
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In Suffolk, meanwhile, emergency services have been called out to a number of flooding incidents across north Suffolk today.
Fire crews from Lowestoft South and Beccles rescued occupants of a vehicle in flood water in Weston, near Beccles, this morning.
The B1062 in Barsham near Beccles is flooded near to the Clarke’s Lane junction. Police were at the scene earlier warning drivers to take care and a recovery truck was towing a car out of the water.
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Meanwhile, the number of car breakdowns in East Anglia has soared today due to the inclement weather, an RAC spokesman has said.
Simon Williams, spokesman for the emergency breakdown company, said there had been around 100 calls per hour in the region compared with 25 on an average day.
He added there had been 70 road traffic collisions so far today and that this was 50pc up on an average day.
“It’s all water-related,” explained Mr Williams. “It’s things like engines cutting out, people going through flood water and in the worst cases vehicles written off.”
The RAC is warning people to drive carefully as there is a lot of standing water around.
He advised people to make journeys only if they are essential, and to take the long way round to avoid floods rather than risk vehicle damage.
“If other people are going through [flooding] it doesn’t mean you can yourself,” he added. “Every car takes in air at slightly different heights.
“It’s easier to take a little bit more time and go somewhere else.
“Cars are really good in the rain these days but they’re not waterproof yet.”
Police attended Station Road in Wymondham this morning where there was localised flooding by the bridge.
It is understood there was around 1.5ft of water.
The fire service was called but a spokesman said there was nowhere they could pump the water to, but they kept a watching brief.
Elsewhere on the roads a single vehicle incident on the A47 Norwich-bound near Acle at around 5.30am partially blocking the road.
The Peugeot 206 was cleared by 6.40am and was recorded by police as damage only.
And at around 6.30am on the B1145 Aylsham Road, at Cawston, with a single vehicle accident blocking the road.
The Citroen C3 was on its side but police said there appeared to be no injuries.
Writing on Twitter, a Norfolk police spokesman said: “Heavy rain across Norfolk this morning. Take extra care on the roads; slow down & leave a bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front.”
The spokesman added: “Hitting standing water at speed could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Please slow down. Allow extra time for your journey.”
Jim Bacon, managing director of Weatherquest, said there is more rain to come but “not quite on the scale we’ve had”.
One more band of rain is expected to pass by dawn on Saturday.
“Saturday and Sunday are both very windy, blustery days and there are scattered showers,” he said. “In a sense there’s a chance some places won’t get too wet.”
He said one feature of the weekend is the strength of the wind rather than the amount of rainfall, with gusts of up to 50 to 60mph on Saturday.