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River Thames Breaches Its Banks Near London

February 10, 2014

By The Associated Press

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

Residents and British troops had piled up sandbags to protect properties from the latest bout of flooding but the river overwhelmed their defenses 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.

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story Image: People loads their boats with sandbags on a flooded street, in Datchet, England, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

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