Work continues on damaged dam as police warn residents they must evacuate By PA Reporters•Emergency work to prevent a damaged dam from bursting is continuing, as residents refusing to evacuate their homes were criticised for putting lives at risk.A senior police officer warned there could be “catastrophic” consequences if the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir collapses while people remain within the evacuation zone in the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge.Thirty-one people, including a “small number” who were initially evacuated but have since returned to their homes, remained in 22 properties in the town on Sunday evening.Deputy chief constable Rachel Swann told a residents meeting those who have defied orders to leave are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also those of emergency services staff who may have to look for them if the dam does break.She said: “We’ve not evacuated this for no reason.“We’ve evacuated this because there is real prospect the dam could fail and if it fails it is catastrophic. People would die if they if they were in that evacuation zone.“So those people who are remain in that zone at putting their lives at risk.“They are also putting the lives of the responders, primarily the police, at risk because we have to keep going in and speaking to them and asking them to leave.”In response to a question from a resident who said he had been burgled, the officer said the force was using a drone to patrol the streets.Water levels at the reservoir have been reduced by more than 3.5 metres and, fortunately for workers at the site, Sunday’s forecast of thunderstorms did not materialise.Derbyshire Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann urged residents who have stayed in their homes to evacuate the area (David Higgens/PA)The Met Office said there was a risk of some showers overnight into Monday, but these would likely amount to just one or two millimetres of rainfall in the area.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will travel to the area on Monday to meet residents and emergency workers, following on from Friday’s visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.Derbyshire chief fire officer Terry McDermott said specialist engineers have monitored the dam wall 24 hours a day with lasers and are reassured by their assessment.He said: “There has been no significant deflection in the dam wall according to the feedback we’ve had so far, which gives us some reassurance.”He added that a seven-day estimate for how long people would be out of their homes was a “worst case scenario”.Lee Williams@leewims80Fantastic effort by all agencies dealing with the incident at Whaley Bridge @DerbyshireFRS @EnvAgency @DerbysPolice @Derbyshirecc
He explained that the sluice channel around the reservoir was “coping well” with both the water being pumped out by 22 pumps and the inflow to the lake which has been blocked off by RAF Chinook drops.
Six rescue boats have been deployed in the region in case the dam bursts.
Workers from construction firm Kier were praised for working through the night at the weekend to build a road around the reservoir so the massive pumps could be moved from one side to the other.
Both Ms Swann and Mr McDermott praised the majority of residents in the area and the community spirit which the fire chief said was “humbling”.
Julie Sharman, chief operating officer for the reservoir’s owners, the Canal and River Trust, also attended the meeting.
She rejected a suggestion from one resident that they had failed to maintain the dam, saying the trust was subject to “the most stringent regulation”.
She added that it was not helpful to speculate about the failure before a full investigation takes place led by the Environment Agency.
Thunderstorms threaten to bring more unwanted rainfall to a Derbyshire town where a damaged dam is feared to be at risk of collapse and the threat to life remains “very high”.
Dozens more homes have been evacuated in Whaley Bridge ahead of expected bad weather on Sunday, as emergency workers continue their efforts to prevent the dam giving way.
The threat to life in the town continues to be “very high”, police said.
Water levels at the Toddbrook Reservoir have been reduced by just over three metres and pumps are continuing to remove water at a rate of around 10cm an hour, Derbyshire Police said.
More than 1,500 residents have been evacuated from town since Thursday, with 55 more properties cleared in the Horwich End area on Saturday.
Police have warned the situation with the 180-year-old structure remains “critical” with Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann saying: “The threat to life remains very high in Whaley Bridge and the surrounding Goyt Valley area”.
Forecasters warned of the potential for up to 40mm of rain to fall in just an hour or two on Sunday afternoon.
Police said once emergency workers reach and maintain a level of water on the reservoir that allows engineers to look closely at the damage to the wall, a decision could be made on residents being able to return to the area.
It had been suggested by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gavin Tomlinson that people may be able to get back to their homes by the end of the week.
While residents had been allowed to return for brief periods this weekend to collect essential items, police said no-one would be allowed to return on Sunday ahead of expected heavy rainfall.
The original decision to allow urgent visits home was to allow residents to collect pets and necessary medication and other vital items. Residents and businesses were supported by officers throughout Friday evening and Saturday to enter their addresses for a controlled period.
Ms Swann criticised a “very small minority” of people who she said had failed to leave the area through the same road block as they entered when returning to pick up belongings.
She said: “These people are putting the lives of officers at risk as further checks have to now be completed to ensure those residents are out of the area safely.”
A Met Office yellow weather warning is in place for much of northern England and the Midlands, including the area around the reservoir.
Meteorologist Mark Wilson said: “There is the potential for some thundery showers which could give some very unwelcome rain (in that area).
“There is the potential for 30-40mm in just one to two hours.”
News Tropical Storm Flossie weakens as it approaches Hawaii •HONOLULU (AP) — Tropical Storm Flossie continues to weaken as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands from the east, officials said.Flossie remained a tropical storm as of 11 a.m. Sunday, when it was about 635 miles (1,022 kilometers) east-southeast of Honolulu, news organizations reported Sunday.Flossie was expected to „move very close” to the islands but then pass the state late Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said.Maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph (64 kph) Sunday morning, while winds with tropical storm force were possible up to 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Flossie’s center, forecasters said.”We’re not out of the woods yet,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said. „Maui County and Hawaii County are still susceptible to tropical storm-force winds. I ask all of our residents and visitors to remain vigilant, make preparations and stay safe.”Light to moderate trade winds were expected to continue across the islands under a high pressure ridge to the north of Hawaii. Shower activity for most islands was expected to favor typical windward and mountain areas during the overnight and early morning hours Sunday into Monday, forecasters said.Hawaii County beaches remained open Sunday. But they could close at any time because of dangerous surf, which could reach up to 15 feet (4.6 meters), county officials said.Flossie comes on the heels of Erick, which was downgraded to a tropical depression Saturday and was expected to dissipate late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, officials said.
•MANILA, Philippines (AP) — At least seven people died and 31 others were rescued when three ferry boats separately capsized in bad weather Saturday between two central Philippine island provinces, the coast guard said.Police said at least seven people were missing after the inter-island ferries either turned over or sank in rough seas, wind and rain between Guimaras and Iloilo provinces. A search by the coast guard, police and villagers was underway.The dead included six women and a man, coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said, adding that one of the ferry boats, M/B Chichi, was carrying at least 42 passengers. Another boat, M/B Keizha, reportedly had four crewmen on board, while the third ferry, M/B Jenny, carried an unspecified number of people who were rescued and brought on board a coast guard ship, he said.Video from ABS CBN TV network showed a rescuer carrying a child from a motorboat to an ambulance in an Iloilo pier, where frantic relatives waited.Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains and thunderstorms amid a brewing storm about 875 kilometers (544 miles) off the country’s eastern coast.Classes and work have been suspended in the Manila metropolis amid heavy rains and flooding, which caused heavy traffic jams Friday in low-lying areas in the capital.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, making the archipelago that lies on the Pacific typhoon and earthquake belt one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
Heavy rain hits the UK
Thunderstorms are expected to hit parts of the UK with a risk of more flooding following a weekend of heavy rain, forecasters have warned.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms across much of the South West and Wales for Tuesday with the risk of floods, lightning strikes, hail and strong winds.
The wet weather follows a week of scorching temperatures across the UK.
More than 20 flood warnings – meaning immediate action is required – were in place across the Midlands and North West on Monday morning, the Environment Agency said.
Rochdale in Greater Manchester saw 100mm of rainfall – more than a month’s worth – in 48 hours, according to the Met Office.
The cellars of a number of properties in the town centre were reported to have been flooded, while the fire service attended homes in Turf Hill Road and properties in the nearby town of Littleborough were also affected, Rochdale Council said.
The Environment Agency tweeted: „Be careful on your commute and don’t drive through flood water.”
Heavy rain also caused flooding on the railway line, disrupting journeys between Rochdale and Todmorden in West Yorkshire on Sunday night.
Forecasters said while the heavy rain will clear on Monday, a second band of low pressure will hit the country on Tuesday.
Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said parts of the South West and Wales will see heavy downpours and could get between 30mm and 40mm of rain.
The average rainfall for the region in July is 81mm, he added.
Mr Wilson said: „An area of low pressure will bring the risk of quite heavy thundery showers into Tuesday.
„There’s definitely a risk of flooding.
„Thunderstorms are a concern – there could be as much as 30mm to 40mm of rain. That’s quite a lot of rain flowing in quite a short period of time.”
French inventor Franky Zapata on Sunday succeeded in crossing the English Channel in 20 minutes on a jet-powered hoverboard he designed. He was forced to abandon a previous bid after failing to land on a refuelling platform and falling into the sea.
Escorted by three helicopters, Franky Zapata was seen waving to onlookers before landing safely in Saint Margaret’s Bay, very close to Dover on Britain’s southern coast on Sunday morning, according to French TV images.
The five turbines on the former jet-ski champion’s craft propelled him at speeds of up to 190 kilometres an hour, powered by a backpack full of kerosene that could keep him airborne for around 10 minutes.
Zapata had failed during an earlier attempt and fell into the middle of the busy shipping lane on July 25. He did not manage to land on a boat waiting in English waters to give him a fresh pack of kerosene.
Zapata, who wowed crowds during France‘s Bastille Day celebrations on July 14 by soaring over a military parade in Paris on the device, said he had changed refuelling arrangements to give himself the best chance of a successful crossing.
‘We took a bigger boat’
„I just want to do it this time, we changed the boat, we took a bigger boat and built a bigger platform,” Zapata told a news conference on Saturday just outside the northern port of Calais.
Zapata was carrying enough kerosene in his backback to fuel the hoverboard for about 10 minutes of flight, and needed to strap on a new supply for the second leg of his journey.
He took off from France at around 0600 GMT and made a refuelling stop mid-way across the 35-km wide Strait of Dover.
A champion on jetski-powered waterboards, Zapata steers his Flyboard Air craft which flies at up to 140 km per hour by leaning forward or backward, and controls thrust with a throttle connected to his 1,500 horsepower board.
„I hope to see you in England, for another press conference,” Zapata told reporters before taking off. „I hope I will be drier than last time.”
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)