You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

0

1

▲  5th Inning 1 outs

River Thames breaches its banks near London

Water covered  thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels, England, Monday. More rain is forecast for later this week.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Water covered thousands of acres of the Somerset Levels, England, Monday. More rain is forecast for later this week.

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

Residents and British troops piled sandbags to protect properties from the latest bout of flooding, but the river overwhelmed their defenses in several places Monday, leaving the center of the village of Datchet and other areas under water.

Continue reading below

The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe flood warnings — an advisory meaning there is a danger to life — along the Thames east of Windsor, about 20 miles from London.

Its chief executive, Paul Leinster, said ‘‘extreme weather will continue to threaten communities this week’’ with more flooding expected Tuesday.

There were no flood alerts for the part of the river that flows through London. That stretch is protected by the Thames Barrier, a series of giant metal gates downstream of central London that can be closed against tidal surges.

By holding back the tide, the barrier also creates more space in the river for excess water from upstream to flow down to the sea.

England has had its wettest January since 1766. Its southwest coast has been battered 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.

Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited flood-hit areas Monday as the government struggled to take charge of the flooding crisis.

Cameron denied the government had been slow to respond. ‘‘We have been dealing with it from the very moment it started,’’ he said.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.