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The River Stour during the wettest winter on record

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

  • Debris smashes against the arch of Corngreaves Bridge, creating a splash

  • Torrents of water tumbling down the Stour

  • The same scene two days later, a large branch left behind by the flood

  • The arch beneath Corngreaves Bridge completely obliterated by the flood waters of the River Stour

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FOR the time being at least the Black Country seems to have escaped the worst of the wettest winter in almost 250 years, and to put this into perspective, when the heavens last disgorged themselves of so much rain, George III was on the throne and Captain Cook was about to embark on his first voyage of exploration, discovering both New Zealand and Australia in the process.

In the last couple of months we have witnessed vast swathes of the Somerset Levels reverting back to ancient wetlands, and the flood plains of many of the country's major river courses in the south and west, including the River Severn, becoming inundated after being fed by an unrelenting diet of water.

Statistics may excite the meteorologists, but for those affected by the misery of flooding, the current situation is unfortunately far from over and has many more weeks to run.

Whenever there is an extraordinary spell of weather in the Black Country, here at the Bugle we try to capture the moment for posterity.

Very often a fall of snow can prove to be both dramatic and picturesque and provides a never ending stream of photographs for the archives. But when it rains, and rains, and, of course, rains, ordinary scenic views can appear drab and uninteresting and it is difficult to capture "the moment" through the camera.

But during a storm, or a prolonged period of heavy rain, the drama of a flood is almost certainly guaranteed just a few hundred yards from Bugle House, where the River Stour, "the o'd mon river, that keeps on goin'", follows its course to an eventual confluence with the River Severn at Stourport.

The drama is best seen at the road bridges where the surging water has to channel all of its energy through a single arch, occasionally crashing items of debris, like branches and tree trunks, against the face of the bridge, before the current swallows all it can underneath the arch.

The pictures we have seen broadcast on television and published in the national newspapers of the devastating floods, the damage to coastal areas, and the more recent hurricane force winds, have once again reminded us how strong the forces of nature can be.

During this unprecedented winter of wet weather the Bugle has taken photographs of the River Stour in flood and Corngreaves Bridge at Belle Vale, Cradley, both during the torrential downpour on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, and again two days later.

If you have any dramatic photographs that have been taken in the Black Country during the course of this record-breaking wet winter, please send them, together with some details, to Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL or drop a line to jworkman@blackcountrybugle .co.uk

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