Man in 80s dies in Walsall as flash floods hit Midlands

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A man has died after storms caused flash flooding across the West Midlands as more than a month’s rainfall deluged parts of Birmingham in just one hour.

The man in his 80s died in Walsall after his vehicle was submerged in Sunday’s floods and parts of Northamptonshire were hit.

The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings of rain and thunderstorms for southern England and Wales.

The South East could also experience the hottest day of the year so far.

West Midlands Police said officers were called to Lichfield Road in the Rushall area of Walsall shortly after 02:00 BST where the man in his 80s was reported to be stuck in his car in flood water.

He was taken to hospital where he died a short time later. His family has been informed.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) paramedic Peter Bowles was at the scene and tweeted that firefighters and ambulance staff had to swim 50m to reach the man.

He told the BBC by the time he reached the vehicle, it was “completely underwater”.

Four paramedics went into the flood water and carried out life support at the water’s edge before he was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital, WMAS said.

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Drainage engineer Ben Lees had rescued another man from the same road on his way home earlier on Sunday.

He said there was about 2in of breathing space in the car when he swam to it and dragged the man out.

Police said some roads in Birmingham were still affected by flooding and advised drivers not to ignore road closure signs.

One major route in the city was left impassable because of water up to 5ft (1.5m) deep.

Jacqui Kennedy from Birmingham City Council said the operation to clear up debris and repair roads was under way.

The Far Cotton area of Northampton was severely flooded along with major roads in the county including the M1 and A45.

The Environment Agency has issued multiple flood warnings and alerts covering much of central England.

Despite the flood warnings, Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said temperatures could hit highs of 28C or 29C in the South East.

He said: “It all depends how much cloud develops. There’s a chance we could see the warmest day of the year.”

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The Met Office said a site at Winterbourne, in Edgbaston, recorded 58mm of rainfall in just one hour on Sunday afternoon, and 81mm in a 12-hour period.

The monthly average for the West Midlands region in May is 55mm, Mr Snell said.

But he said the torrential rain had been “very localised”, pointing out that another site 10 miles away at Coleshill recorded just 3mm of rain in 12 hours.

BBC journalist Rebecca Woods said she had driven past a large number of flooded and closed roads in the Harborne and Selly Oak areas.

She said she had seen flooded houses and it had taken her 90 minutes to drive about five miles.

In Sir John’s Road, Selly Park, homes flooded and cars were under water, while wheelie bins floated down the road.

Resident Stu Dunigan said water was above waist height, almost submerging cars on the street.

It is the second time in two years the street has flooded. More than 100 homes were flooded June 2016 causing some residents to leave their houses.

Some had only recently returned before Sunday’s floods.

Trevor Thomas, who lives in Kings Heath, had to leave his home when it was flooded with six inches of water.

Mr Thomas, 51, is severely disabled and had to be taken to stay with his 73-year-old mother, Pat Thomas, at her home in Kings Norton.

She said the house was not suitable for her son and they both had to sleep on the sofa as she could not get him upstairs to bed.

In Pelsall, Matthew Swain thanked his “lovely neighbours” who helped his elderly grandparents by sweeping the water out of their house in Fordbrook Lane while their own homes were also flooded.

“They left their own houses and came to my grandparents’ rescue,” he said. “I’m so grateful and thankful to them all.”

Northampton council leader Jonathan Nunn and councillor James Hill visited St Leonard’s Road in Far Cotton to speak people affected by flooding.

Mr Nunn said: “We want to know exactly what happened and work out ways to prevent it happening again.”

Part of the M1 and A45 in the county were under three feet of water and drivers were trying to pass through the floods.

The A5 was closed in both directions in the border area of Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, between the junctions of the A426 at Churchover and the A428 near the Dirft rail terminal to the east of Rugby.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) said it had also been “extremely busy” dealing with flooding calls on Sunday evening.

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