Flood-hit communities in Shropshire and Worcestershire are facing another day of misery, with the River Severn breaching its banks in a ‘once-in-a-generation event’.

There is no let-up in sight after heavy rain overnight caused the River to overwhelm emergency defences. Water started to pour over the top of temporary structures in Bewdley late last night – and homes are being evacuated over fears that the river will not reach its peak until tonight.

The Environment Agency says the river in the small Worcestershire town is expected to reach between 5.4m and 5.6m, potentially surpassing the highest recorded level of 5.56m, that was seen in November 2000. There are also major concerns for Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Wharfage in Shropshire, where the Environment Agency are warning that there is a ‘danger to life’.

As well as the two severe warnings covering those areas, there were also 98 flood warnings and 142 flood alerts in place across the UK this morning.

More wet weather is forecast in some of the worst-affected areas, with parts of Wales and the North West of England predicted to see another 0.8in to 1.6in (2cm to 4cm) of rain, according to the Met Office.

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Railway lines into Shrewsbury were closed due to the rising water levels close to the viaduct.

Network Rail said: ‘The exceptionally high-water levels in the Severn and the closure of these lives serve to highlight the extreme weather we’ve experienced across the network over the last few weeks.

‘The current situation in Shrewsbury is very much a once-in-a-generation event.’

It said engineers would be undertaking an underwater inspection of the viaduct’s structure on Wednesday morning before lines can reopen.

Mark Bowers, a flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, tweeted: ‘Huge amounts of water in the system.

‘Thoughts with the local community who have been impacted.’

In the at-risk town of Ironbridge, the force of the river pushed flood defences backwards, although they have so far just managed to hold out the roughly 6.8m swell.

Shortly after 1am on Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, tweeted: ‘The barrier appears intact but has indeed moved. This will be monitored throughout the night.’

Roads around the Ironbridge Gorge have also been closed to stop people driving in floodwater, Telford and Wrekin Council said.

The level of the River Severn reached more than 22ft (6.79m) in the Shropshire village of Buildwas at around 8.30am on Wednesday – up from a level of 16ft (4.19m) on Sunday.

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In the North East, flood warnings remain in place in the Snaith area, in East Yorkshire, ahead of a high tide on Wednesday morning.

The Environment Agency said the washlands at Gowdall Ings are continuing to fill and are overtopping, as designed, into Snaith Ings, with flooding affecting properties nearby.

Hull Coastguard Rescue Team joined other agencies, including police, fire and ambulance services, on Tuesday night to alert residents and help with evacuations.

On Tuesday, East Riding of Yorkshire Council said that 10 properties – seven commercial and three residential – had flooded in Snaith, with schools and the road north of the town closed.

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