More rain is forecast for tonight and Friday — but nothing like the downpours that have turned rivers into torrents and fields into lakes.
As residents of flood-threatened cities and towns nationwide held their breath, an Environment Agency spokesman said: “We appear to have reached the high-water mark.”
But localised flooding could still be a problem as rivers across the Midlands, South and West are close to bursting their banks.
Dozens of swans glided along streets yesterday after the Severn overflowed in Worcester.
Water levels around Tewkesbury, Gloucs — where 1,800 homes were swamped in 2007 — were expected to rise another six inches. But flood defences were holding.
There were still 33 flood warnings in force — 14 in the South West — and 132 lesser alerts.
Roads in low-lying areas of Oxfordshire and Berkshire could be submerged as flood water surges downstream in the Thames.
A stranded school minibus with 14 children on board had to be winched out of floodwater by a farmer at Peterchurch, Herefordshire. The Met Office forecast 0.4in (10mm) of rain tonight.
But an Environment Agency spokesman said: “The forecast risk of flooding across England and Wales for Thursday is very low.”
Hosepipe bans will remain in place despite the wettest April on record with more than twice the normal rainfall.
Thames Water said: “One wet month is not enough to get us out of this drought.”
The man swept to his death with his dog in a flooded river was named yesterday as Jonathan Gammon, a 52-year-old judge.
He was a passenger in a Toyota Yaris negotiating a ford at Headley, Hants, when the current caught it and swept it 100 yards downstream.
He was trapped but his wife Priscilla, 55, escaped. Judge Gammon, of Teddington, Middlesex, sat on mental health tribunals and colleagues yesterday described him as “very well respected and popular”.
Youths who risked their lives by stripping to their boxer shorts and leaping into the swollen River Tone from a bridge in Taunton, Somerset, were condemned by the fire and rescue service yesterday.
- ANIMAL charity the Blue Cross urged Brits to think ahead if they are at risk of flooding — moving outdoor pets indoors, possibly upstairs, or taking them to stay with people outside the risk zone. But it added: “Never put your own life in danger to save an animal.”
- THE brains behind the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant said there was “no way” it will be cancelled due to the rain — and the Windsor Castle grounds were “in pretty good shape” for the spectacular, featuring Susan Boyle.
- THIS weekend’s big charity boating festival on the River Nene in Northampton — which was first threatened by the drought — was yesterday postponed for the first time in 15 years... because there is too much water.
FLOODING has been a fact of life in Tewkesbury for centuries.
It stands where major rivers — the Severn and Avon — meet.
The 12th century abbey “floating” on dry land, seen around the world, is just one image from decades of deluge, below.