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Thunderstorms expected as race to stop UK dam collapse continues

Christian Fernsby |
Efforts by emergency workers to stop a badly damaged Derbyshire dam in the UK being breached could be hampered by the weather that could bring more rain.

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Heavy rain has left the wall of the Derbyshire structure, at the 19th century Toddbrook Reservoir, partially collapsed and there is a threat to life.

Thunderstorms are forecast to bring more downpours to the town of Whaley Bridge, where around 1,500 people have been evacuated over the past few days amid fears it could be flooded if the dam gives way.

Another 55 properties were evacuated in the Horwich End area during the weekend due to "a potential increase in risk of adverse weather in coming days and the ongoing risk of the Toddbrook Reservoir breaching", police said.

An RAF Chinook has dropped more than 400 sandbags - each weighing a tonne - to help repair the dam wall and around 150 firefighters have been using high-volume pumps to remove water from the reservoir.

Water levels have been reduced by 1.3 metres since Thursday, according to the Department for the Environment, but the structure remains in "critical condition" and police have warned a breach is still "a very real threat".

Up to 40mm of rain is forecast to fall in just an hour or two on Sunday afternoon, according to the Met Office, which has issued a yellow weather warning for much of northern England and the Midlands, including the reservoir.

Residents who had been evacuated earlier were given a brief chance to return to their homes for essential items, although police warned the risk of the dam being breached was still "very real".

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