Thames flooding

The Thames Barrier was closed on Thursday afternoon at 2pm due to spring tides and high river levels.

High tide at 3.15pm in central London saw ferry passengers walk up rather than down Bankside Pier. Only five of the steps outside nearby Tate Modern remained dry.

These scenes are interesting considering that in the last few days the river has been high upstream with the towpath flooded in several places in Oxfordshire following the heavy West Country rain. Earlier this week a cyclist was stranded on the towpath west of Reading.

Walkers should certainly expect closures and diversions. The unusually warm weather is bringing out people who might not normally experience the winter flooding.

Nineteen flood watches are in force across London.

The Barrier was due to be reopened within three hours. Thames tidal flood risk manager Andrew Batchelor says: “This is a standard procedure for us when we have high spring tides combined with high flows in the river from heavy rain.

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