Thunderstorms expected while Whaley Bridge dam repairs continue- risk to life ‘remains high’

A warning for thunderstorms and possible flooding has been sounded as work to stop a damaged dam from bursting in Derbyshire continues.

Damage to the dam, at the 300 million gallon Toddbrook Reservoir, remains ‘at a critical level’- with a yellow weather warning in place for Sunday (August 4).

Mist is seen in the valleys before sunrise as a Chinook helicopter prepares to drop sandbags onto the dam wall at Toddbrook reservoir following a severe structural failure after heavy rain (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Mist is seen in the valleys before sunrise as a Chinook helicopter prepares to drop sandbags onto the dam wall at Toddbrook reservoir following a severe structural failure after heavy rain (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

More than 1,000 residents were evacuated from Whaley Bridge on Thursday (August 1) as the emergency services raced to reduce water levels after part of the reservoir’s spillway broke away.

Last night (Friday, August 2), residents were allowed to return home ‘for 15 minutes’ to gather vital items and pets in a controlled operation by Derbyshire Police, but were told to do so ‘at their own risk, as risk to life remains high in the area’.

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The force has also issued advice on what will happen should the dam fail, or there be a fear that a collapse is imminent:

“The emergency service vehicles will sound their horns three times and a loud hailer will also sound.

A Chinook helicopter creates a rainbow in the spray as it prepares to drop sandbags onto the dam wall at Toddbrook reservoir following a severe structural failure after heavy rain, on August 02, 2019 in Whaley Bridge.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A Chinook helicopter creates a rainbow in the spray as it prepares to drop sandbags onto the dam wall at Toddbrook reservoir following a severe structural failure after heavy rain, on August 02, 2019 in Whaley Bridge. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Residents should leave the area immediately away from the dam wall and to higher ground.”

The weather in the area is currently dry, but the Met Office say thunderstorms, and possible damage from lightning strikes and floodwater, could hit on Sunday afternoon and continue into the evening.

Railway lines in Whaley Bridge have been closed amid flooding risks.

A helpline for evacuated residents will be operated by Derbyshire County Council from 9am to 10pm today on 01629 533190.

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