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River Thames breaches its banks near London

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 10, 2014 at 8:37 a.m.

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 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.

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