Monday, July 23, 2007

Flooding in the U.K.

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Tewkesbury, a historic and picturesque town in Gloucestershire that dates to before the Norman Conquest of the mid-11th century, lies between Birmingham to the north and Bristol to the south in west-central England, roughly WNW of London, well past Oxford, not far from the Welsh border. The beautiful Norman abbey, the town's most prominent building, was consecrated in 1121, about three decades after construction began. It was the site of an eponymous battle, one of the key confrontations of the War of the Roses, in 1471. It developed into a market town with an economy built largely around flour milling -- the last mill, however, closed in 2006 -- and it is now home to a thriving high tech industry. Including its surrounding areas, it is now a town of about 20,000 people.

And it is, at present, a town that is largely under water.

The flooding in the U.K. this month has been horrendous. My brother, a co-blogger here, lives west of London, near Reading, and, from what I understand, much of his yard is under water.

The latest from the BBC is here: "Almost 350,000 homes are without running water and some 50,000 are without power as the flooding crisis continues in central and west England." The government's emergency response committee, nickhamed Cobra, has met to review the crisis: "[T]he water levels of both the Thames and Severn have exceeded those of devastating floods in 1947."

For photos of the devastation, see here. And here, from those photos, is an overhead shot of Tewkesbury, with the abbey front and center:

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