Devastating storms left one area looking like a scene from a horror film, according to a seasoned flooding expert.
David Throup, of the Environment Agency, said that Tenbury Wells, Worcs, was like a “zombie apocalypse” after being hit by storms Ciara and Dennis.
He said: “People were in tears, in shock, returning to their shops and homes which were covered in mud and rubbish.
“It was just a horrible, horrible sight to see the reaction on people’s faces. I’ve seen quite a few of our staff very shocked and in tears about what is going on.”
Mr Throup, 54, the agency’s manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, has been protecting homes for more than 20 years.
He was speaking after the Met Office forecast more torrential rain, gales and snow this week, along with further flooding for his patch.
Mr Throup described the horror when he saw river levels, monitored by the agency’s 1,000 staff, reach “unheard-of” levels.
He said: “It came up four metres in four or five hours. I thought ‘dear God, something bad is happening here’.
“For the first time since I’ve been dealing with floods, I was scared. I thought that people could
be seriously hurt or killed.”
He fears that climate change, the “intensive” use of agricultural land and building on flood plains, signal worse to come.
Mr Throup wants to see more education, better defences and land use issues being addressed.
He said: “There is no flood season any more – it can happen any time.
“You warm the world and the atmosphere gets more volatile and wetter.”
The Met Office has issued warnings for today, with up to 8in of snow in Scotland and 4in in northern England.
Forecaster Marco Petagna said: “I’m afraid we hold on to unsettled weather over the next few days.”