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River Thames breaches its banks near London

LONDON (AP) - The River Thames has burst its banks after reaching its highest level in years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London.

Residents and British troops piled up sandbags to protect properties from the latest bout of flooding, but the river overwhelmed their defenses in several places Monday, leaving areas including the center of the village of Datchet underwater.

The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe flood warnings - meaning there's a danger to life - along the Thames east of Windsor, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from London.

Its chief executive, Paul Leinster, said "extreme weather will continue to threaten communities this week" with more Thames flooding expected Tuesday.

There were no flood alerts for the part of the river that flows through London. That stretch is protected by the Thames Barrier, a series of giant metal gates downstream of central London that can be closed against tidal surges. By holding back the tide, the barrier also creates more space in the river for excess water from upstream to flow down to the sea.

England has had its wettest January since 1766. Its southwest coast has been battered repeatedly by storms and a large area of the low-lying Somerset Levels in the southwest has been under water for more than a month.

The disaster has sparked a political storm, with the Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led government facing criticism from many residents for allegedly failing to dredge rivers and take other flood-prevention measures.

Both Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited flood-hit areas Monday as the government struggled to take charge of the flooding crisis.

Cameron denied the government had been slow to respond.

"We have been dealing with it from the very moment it started," he said. "Where money was needed, we provided more money. Where military was needed, I made sure the military was deployed."

Village Flooded as Thames Rises

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t46pam February 13 2014 at 2:49 PM

1947 Thames flood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_Thames_flood - Similar to 1947 Thames flood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1947 Thames flood was worst overall 20th century flood of the River Thames , affecting much of the Thames Valley as well as elsewhere in England during ...

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t46pam February 12 2014 at 11:43 PM

London has had floods just as bad before -------- I remember this one as a child in 1947 ------ this latest one will pass without any great loss. Don't know where the idea came from that the Thames hasn't flooded in hundreds of years

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jweston5216 February 11 2014 at 11:21 AM

I am sad for the people who live along the River Thames. It is certainly a disaster. But they certainly can't blame the government. They live along a river. It's been 248 years since the river flooded. People just forgot what it could do when it did flood. My heart goes out to them for I know their way of life, as well as their childrens', has been forever altered.

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Don Adair February 11 2014 at 10:26 AM

A fact that is seldom mentioned with respect to global warming is that sea level has risen about 360 feet since the peak of the last ice age 18,000 years ago. This is an average rise of 2 feet each 100 years during the 18,000 year period. The rate of rise has been erratic and has slowed considerably during the most recent few thousand years. It may or may not continue before it stops. During the past two and a half million years there have been many continental glaciations, generally about 100,000 years apart. There have been interglacial episodes (periods between glaciations) when sea level rose more than 50 feet above where it is today. During such times it was, of course, like today, mankind that caused the warming, probably our stupid cave dwelling ancestors with their campfires.

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myredbrick February 11 2014 at 9:20 AM

Obama said blame Bush.

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jhalfdime February 11 2014 at 8:00 AM

The Brits have endured flooding issues for over a week with (Among others) the Avon flooding. There were also flooding issues a month or so ago. As much as I dislike looking at -8˚F on my thermometer, it beats watching water flood through your home. Hoping the rivers in the UK recede quickly!

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jweston5216 February 11 2014 at 11:26 AM

I can certainly agree with you on this.

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T Rock February 11 2014 at 12:43 AM

AOL - let me post comments - there is no "error"

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accordmee February 11 2014 at 6:01 AM

They are trying to lose visitors with the way they screen items and what is this facebook sh$t.

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mitchellotus February 10 2014 at 8:28 PM

This made news in the U.S. Hope all my friends in the U.K. are safe and dry.

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AREK February 10 2014 at 8:06 PM


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bigred8690 February 10 2014 at 7:35 PM

I spent a year in London as a graduate student at King's College London. My heart goes out to all the Brits whose lives are impacted by this flood.

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