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Households battling to make homes safe amid warning flooding could continue

Storm Babet has left at least four people dead and hundreds more homeless as the Environment Agency (EA) warned there could be more flooding this week.

Around 1,250 properties in England have been flooded while an estimated 30,000 properties have needed protection against rising water levels, the EA said.

The agency said more flood warnings are expected for some of the worst affected areas this week although severe flood warnings, meaning risk of death or serious injury, have been lifted.

Autumn weather October 22nd 2023
Flooding along the River Severn in Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

Severe flood warnings in place on the River Derwent in Derby and on the River Idle in the East Midlands were lifted on Sunday.

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The EA said: “River flooding will continue into Wednesday along the River Severn.

“Further flooding is possible from rivers and surface water on Tuesday and Wednesday for parts of England due to further heavy rain.”

The latest warning comes after 83-year-old Maureen Gilbert was found dead in her flooded home in Tapton Terrace, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on Saturday morning.

Autumn weather October 22nd 2023
Tapton Terrace in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where Maureen Gilbert, 83, was found dead on Saturday (Matthew Cooper/PA)

Her son Paul Gilbert, who attempted to secure his mother’s home with flood defences, told Sky News he found her “floating in the water” on Saturday.

“I thought I had done enough with the flood defences, that are nearly four foot high, that she would be all right,” he said.

“I did not want to find my own mum and I expected somebody else to have found her.

“I go through so many different stages, anger, upset, I don’t know. I can’t put it into words what it means at the moment.”

Mrs Gilbert’s neighbours said 5ft of water had engulfed the inside of their properties “within minutes” of the River Rother bursting its banks.

Storm Babet death Wendy Taylor
Wendy Taylor died after being swept into the Water of Lee, Glen Esk, on Thursday (Family handout/Police Scotland/PA)

A woman who died after being swept into the Water of Lee, Glen Esk, on Thursday has been named as Wendy Taylor, 57.

Mrs Taylor, who was described as “the beloved wife, best friend and soulmate in life to George, mother to James, Sally and Susanna and Granny to India and George”, was said to be “a ray of sunshine for everyone who was fortunate enough to know her” in a tribute issued through Police Scotland.

“We are absolutely heartbroken to lose Wendy in such tragic circumstances and are still struggling to come to terms with it. Wendy was a beautiful, kind, funny and caring person,” the statement said.

First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf will visit Brechin, Angus, on Monday to see where the River South Esk burst its banks and flooded dozens of homes last week.

Angus and Aberdeenshire were badly hit by the storm.

Derby City Council said record-breaking water levels had been seen in the River Derwent and warned that cleaning up after the floods could take several days.

Babet
Flooding in Powys in Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Met Office spokesman Dave Britton said those worst affected by the flooding caused by Storm Babet could see “a couple of quieter days”.

Mr Britton told the PA news agency more settled weather on Monday could allow some respite and a chance for recovery.

He added: “There is this pulse of rain moving its way north overnight later on Monday and into Tuesday, but the rest of the week does look like it remains rather unsettled with spells of rain at times.”

A 56-year-old driver died when a tree fell on his van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday while a man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing floodwater in the town of Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, on Friday.

A search was also under way in Aberdeenshire after a report of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater.