Somerset Levels and Moors Update – 11th December 2023

Current situation

Following last week’s rainfall, the ground remains saturated and river levels are still high across Somerset. A small band of rain is expected overnight Monday (December 11th) and into Tuesday, and although predicted rainfall totals are not high, with catchments being so wet, some flood alerts and warnings may be triggered. The rest of the week is expected to be drier.

Across the whole of the Somerset Levels and Moors, we are pumping whenever conditions allow, but please be aware that we can only operate pumps when there is capacity in the river to receive the water. Once river levels drop enough for spillways to stop running, we continually assess how much capacity there is in the river so we can make the most of opportunities to pump. It is normal for pumps to be switched back on gradually, coming online one at a time as river levels allow. A useful guide to how the Somerset Levels and Moors work is available on the Somerset Rivers Authority website.

We have duty officers monitoring levels and conditions in all catchments 24 hours a day, and we are also reviewing temporary pump deployment daily. Our field teams are busy inspecting structures and equipment, and ensuring assets are operating as expected. Somerset Council Highways have closed the emergency flood gates on Cutts Road, New Road and Langport Road. We are working closely with Somerset Council to monitor conditions on Law Lane at Muchelney.

There are two flood warnings and four flood alerts in place for Somerset. For the most up to date information please check: https://checkforflooding.service.gov.uk/alertsandwarnings.

Axe / Brue Catchment

Levels in the River Brue are still very high, with flooding affecting low-lying land. We are operating pumps whenever possible, and river levels are dropping slowly. Operations at North Drain pumping station are affected by high levels in the Brue, but we are operating the Cripps diversion to utilise the Huntspill to evacuate water whenever possible. We have been proactively reducing levels in South Drain, which has been helping to make capacity for any rainfall and draw water through the system. Clewer and Gold Corner pumping stations are both working as normal.  

Parrett / Tone Catchment – Upstream of Langport

Recent rainfall totals in South Somerset have been particularly high, and as a result levels in the

River Parrett remain high as this water works its way down the catchment. The moors upstream of Langport are storing large volumes of water, and pumping stations are still inhibited from running as there is currently no capacity in the river.

This week, we are going to be deploying additional pumps to Westover and Huish Episcopi pumping stations, in preparation for when river levels drop. We are also monitoring the need for additional pumps at Middleney and Long Load pumping stations.

We have opened Monksleaze Clyse so that flows continue to be diverted flows down the Parrett Flood Relief Channel (Sowy).

Please can residents ensure that they are not blocking access to Westover pumping station when parking in that area. Many thanks for your help and understanding.

Parrett / Tone Catchment – Downstream of Langport

The rate of rise in Currymoor has greatly slowed, but pumping is still inhibited by high levels in the River Tone. We will switch pumps back on as soon as possible. Water levels at both Northmoor and Saltmoor are still within the capacity of the permanent pumps. Temporary pumps remain in place at Currymoor and Saltmoor, as does the stable crossing at Northmoor.  

 Outlook

There is a small band of rain expected overnight Monday (11th) and into Tuesday, with drier weather forecast for Wednesday to Friday. Into the weekend and over the course of the following week, there will be sporadic showers that may have some impact across the catchment.

Flooding advice and information

Our advice to the public is to stay safe and not enter floodwater – just 30 cm of fast-flowing water can move a car, and just 15 cm of fast-flowing water could be enough to knock you off your feet.

What to do to prepare for flooding

Or visit:  www.somersetriversauthority.org.uk

What to do during a flood

Recovery from Flooding

Or https://floodmary.com/wpcontent/uploads/2023/02/homeownersguidetofloodrecovery.pdf

https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/somersettalkingtherapies/

For all enquiries, or if you would like to be added to the distribution list for Somerset Levels and Moors updates, please email WessexEnquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk