Weather warning for rush hour tonight

By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 17:06

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Buy photos » Traffic struggled with the deluge in Bromsgrove. Picture by Anna Davidson Thawe. s

BROMSGROVE, Rubery and the rest of the Midlands are expected to be lashed by torrential rain and winds of up to 70mph during this evening's rush hour.

Motorists have been urged to take extra care after the Met Office forecast 20mm will fall from 5pm tonight (Thursday) along with the high winds, causing commuter chaos.

Drivers are being warned it is likely to be so bad that windscreen wipers will not be effective, reducing visibility and there will be a lot of standing water on the roads, as well as localised flooding.

The district is still dealing with the impact of Wednesday's (November 21) deluge which saw 29.2mm of rain fall - almost half of the average rainfall for the whole of November.

It caused roads to be closed and, insome parts of the county, there were reports of drivers being left stranded and having to be rescued.

One particularly bad road was Foxhill Lane in Alvechurch. At 5.30pm yesterday (Thursday), it was under 2ft of water and cars were cutting out, forcing Highways to close it.

In light of travel disruption, West Mercia Police and the Safer Roads Partnership are urging motorists driving through larger puddles or smaller areas of standing water to progress slowly and steadily, allowing oncoming traffic to pass and always testing their brakes after leaving the water.

Headlights must be used and drivers should leave a bigger gap between them and the car in front to allow extra time for stopping.

On the advice of The AA, anyone who breaks down in heavy rain, should try and get the car to a safe and visible place, call for roadside assistance and wait for help to arrive.

On encountering a flooded section, motorists are advised not to attempt to drive through flood water, as it will be impossible to predict how deep it is.

Some drivers have been ignoring road closures and are risking putting themselves and others in danger.

Vicki Bristow from the Safer Roads Partnership comments: "We are urging all motorists to exercise caution in these conditions, use common sense and follow our simple advice.

"Localised flooding still exists in places and the current forecast is predicting more of the same so our advice is to stay alert to local weather and news reports and if your area is experiencing flooding it's advisable to leave any non essential travel until any flooding has subsided."

Worcestershire County Council Highways has announced extra staff will be on standby overnight to deal with any problems caused by the severe weather forecast for this evening.

All 20 Maintenance Gangs have been redeployed to deal with the effects of the recent adverse weather, 14 Patrol Officers will be out and about on the county's roads, Gully Emptiers are ready if needed and 18 tree contractors are prepared to deal with any fallen trees from high winds.

Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council's Highways customer and community manager, said: "We're putting extra staff on in preparation to deal with any problems that might arise from the forecast heavy rainfall and high winds. We'll be constantly monitoring the situation on our roads – with officers and contractors ready to work this evening and through the night if necessary.

"We'd echo the advice to drivers being sent out by the police, Environment Agency and emergency services. Please take care on the roads, stay safe and do not attempt to drive through roads that are flooded."

Up to date flood information is available by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188. Visit www.hwfire.org.uk for more advice.

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