3:09pm Thursday 13th February 2014
TORRENTIAL downpours and rising water levels are causing havoc in Halesowen as river banks break, properties flood and a burst water main shot water 50 feet into the air.
Residents are bracing themselves for more weather related misery as the Met Office issued an amber warning for wind, a yellow warning for rain and predicted more rainfall for the weekend.
The Environment Agency released a flood alert for the River Stour and its tributaries yesterday (Wednesday) morning and urged residents to make a flood plan to protect family, pets and property.
The new Grange Crescent flood defences are holding firm but residents near Illey Brook fear a repeat of the 2008 floods which swamped homes in Woodman Road, Halesmere Way and Honeybourne Road.
Katherine Baker-Scully, Honeybourne Road resident and former chairman of the now disbanded Halesowen Flood Management Committee, has been checking the brook regularly to warn neighbours.
She said: "The Illey Brook river banks have burst two days running now and there is a lot of fear around here.
"The water is over four and a half feet above the water gauge and some gardens have already flooded.
"We are scared of a repeat of the flooding of six years ago. The Grange Crescent flood defences were built but nothing was done about Illey Brook."
She added: "Our sandbags are at the bottom of the garden and with the weather forecast being so bad we are waking up every morning hoping we will not be flooded."
On Tuesday morning Hagley Road was closed after a water main burst shooting water and rubble 50 feet into the air
Hagley Road resident Joanne Glattback said: "It was incredible, there was water and rubble shooting out of the water main. It really could have hurt someone if they had been near it when it blew and there had been schoolchildren passing it beforehand.
"PC Tom Yorke was first on the scene and he worked for two hours soaked to the skin trying to stop an elderly neighbour's house flooding.
"We only had buckets, plastic containers and dustbins to bail water away and did not have any help. "
"It has been a problem area for a long time and the water board are always digging up our road."
Hayley Green and Cradley South councillor Ken Turner waded in to help a resident shift fallen tree branches and leaves with a snow shovel that were blocking two drains in Hagley Road.
He said: “I was ankle deep in water, but once we got them clear the flood water disappeared.”
Thieves stole lead from the roof of Vets for Pets, Stourbridge Road, on Sunday night which led to the surgery being flooded.
Vet Mike Hanna said: "The thieves could not have stolen the lead at a worse time.
"The surgery flooded but all the animals were safe and the staff and clients have been fantastic."
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