Villages cut off as heavy rain batters Bristol
PEOPLE living near rivers were braced for possible flooding after heavy downpours soaked the Bristol area, with more rain and strong winds expected today.
Last night the Environment Agency placed flood warnings on the river Chew thorough Keynsham, the Frome between Yate and Stapleton, the Congresbury Yeo in North Somerset and Winford Brook at Chew Magna after two days of heavy rain.
A flood alert was also in place for the river Frome all the way from Chipping Sodbury in the north and the Floating Harbour.
Yesterday Portbury and Chew Magna were hardest hit by floods which also brought roads in Bristol and surrounding areas to a near standstill.
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Warnings of further spells of heavy rain and strong gales remain in place for today.
The chaos on the roads was matched by delays to train services from Bristol to London, Exeter, Gloucester and Newport.
First Great Western released pictures of a submerged rail line in Flax Bourton which caused delays for passengers.
Flooding between Bristol Parkway and Gloucester also left lines blocked. Train services running through both stations were cancelled or delayed by up to an hour and a half.
Crowds of passengers waiting for trains at Bristol Temple Meads were guided onto replacement bus services.
In North Somerset there was widespread localised flooding, which trapped some people in their home and cars. Houses were flooded in Portbury after a deluge sent a torrent running through the village. Residents were left bailing out their homes in Lower Langford, near Bristol Airport.
An adult and four children were rescued from flood water at Winford Bridge, Chew Magna, by Avon fire and rescue Service crews. A man also had to be rescued from a car in flood water at Pilgrims Way, Chew Stoke.
One fire crew from Chew Magna was called to Stowey Bottom, Bishop Sutton, where they helped a woman in labour to safely leave the flood-affected house she was in. She was then transferred to an ambulance and taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
A swift water rescue team from Bedminster, helped by a crew from Weston-super-Mare, rescued a man trapped in a BMW car stranded in around four feet of flood water on the A368 at Bishop Sutton.
A 45-year-old woman was rescued from a Skoda car in floodwater at Backwell Common just after 10am.
Bedminster fire crews also used a raft to search a vehicle left submerged by water at Chapel Hill, Backwell, although no-one was inside.
Across Bristol fire crews used pumps to remove water from a number of homes and gardens, while crews attempted to divert the path of water to reduce the risk of flooding elsewhere.
In South Gloucestershire water running off fields flooded Badminton Road near Coalpit Heath and Park Lane near Frampton Cotterell was also flooded, with some vehicles breaking down after going through the water.
There was also flooding in Thornbury and delays on the A38 nearby.
Surface water on the M5 and M32 caused delays which caused long tailbacks for much of the morning, exacerbated by an accident on the northbound M32, which caused delays between 9.30am and 11.30am.
The A431 from Bristol to Bath, the A370 at Long Ashton and the A4 in Saltford were also affected.
Drivers at the bottom of Whiteladies Road took pictures of flooding outside Victoria Methodist Church.
A number of bus services were diverted and some cancelled as routes were affected.
The heavy rain cleared by around 2pm, with blue skies appearing over the Bristol area, but more rain returned during the evening.
The Met Office warned people that there would be more strong winds today, with some severe gales, and more heavy rain.
More information on rivers at risk of flooding can be found by calling the Environment Agency Floodline service on 0845 988 1188 or visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk.