A police spokesperson said: “There is a high probability that there will be significant flooding due to damage caused in recent severe weather.“People are asked to make alternative arrangements to stay with friends and family. If anyone is not able to do so then they will be accommodated, however, there is limited capacity to do so.“We understand that there will be some concern around not being able to return home, however, our priority is to ensure people are kept safe and well and are not taking unnecessary risks.“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.“We will keep people regularly updated and we are working with our partners to resolve the issue as quickly as we can.” 4:54PMPictures of the dam show the extent of the damage Crazy that Whaley Bridge has been completely evacuated because the dam might burst. I was there last year and took this picture at that same dam pic.twitter.com/EuflDUHJIM— 🥃 (@Greg_Ivan_) August 1, 2019 Experts are divided as to whether the concrete and earthwork structure will survive that long.Dr Mohammad Heidarzadeh, an engineer at Brunel University London, said such designs could be “washed away very rapidly”.“Due to heavy rainfall in Whaley Bridge area, the spillway is now broken and a big chunk of its concrete structure is damaged,” he said.“There is a possibility that the spillway could then become fully broken in a few hours.”Anna Aspinall, 36, from Whaley Bridge, said she and others had been called to help place sandbags near the dam, but were sent away after structural engineers warned “that the wall is at high risk of failing”.She said: “We are praying the dam wall holds whilst the Canal and River Trust try to drain the water from the reservoir.” The evacuation has been exacerbated by the deterioration of the roads in and around the town, following days of torrential rain.Steve Cliffe, a pensioner, said the surface of the road to his hamlet of Fernilee, 1.5 miles away, was all torn up and the community completely cut off. “We just can’t get out,” he said. 4:52PMDerbyshire Police say the situation is ‘unprecedented’ 11:31PMRAF helicopter deployed to prevent dam from collapsing further, police confirm Sandbags are being used to help shore up dam wall at Whaley BridgeMore than 6,000 people have been told to leave their homes amid fears the dam could burst https://t.co/BrCWXF9AtV pic.twitter.com/jJKLDsfGFZ— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 1, 2019 Carolyn Whittle, 45, who lives in Meadowfield, on the hillside in Whaley Bridge, said she had never seen water flood over the dam in her lifetime.She said: “We are situated north-west of the mouth of the reservoir, approx 400 feet about the water level.”There is currently a request, we believe, for all to evacuate due to emergency services access.”An hour ago, there was a lot of emergency service activity and frenzy while my son was trying to reach home. Another section of the concrete on the dam face has now collapsed.”We have friend’s children here with us, who would have had to camp out at the high school otherwise.”Everyone I know is horrified that our whole town could be decimated in a matter of minutes, it’s terrible.”I’ve lived in Whaley for the best part of 45 years and I’ve never seen water flood over the dam like that, ever, nor thought that we could possibly be at risk in this way.”We’re gaining all our information from social at the moment. If we need to go, we will get in my defender and head over Disley tops. It’s closed, but mainly to stop people trying to access Whaley centre, which police are not allowing at the bottom of our road.”I’m really scared the dam will actually go. Best solution is a smaller flood of the Goyt river, with flood risks as far as Marple. When we went to see what was happening earlier, the fire brigade had arranged a tanker to pump water away from the reservoir, and a digger to dam the area where the river was still refilling the reservoir.” 6:33PMWhat Whaley Bridge dam looked like a year ago… 6:14PMMother evacuated with her children: “The scary part will be what happens next” Professor Roderick Smith, from Imperial College London, said: “Extreme weather events mean that there is increasing unease about the safety of older dams: particularly the need to release excess water safely and easily.”The reservoir was damaged due to flooding in 1964, according to the Environment Agency, but another specialist said it was “unlikely” it had been in an unsafe condition before the heavy rainfall on Thursday.Professor Tim Broyd, Professor of Built Environment Foresight at University College London, said: “Dams are highly regulated structures, which includes regular structural inspections by highly qualified engineers.”It is unlikely therefore that the dam was in a previously unsafe condition.”What may have been the cause, however, is that the flow rate into the reservoir was exceptionally high, as a result of extreme local rainflows.” Rebecca Simpson, who was evacuated from Whaley Bridge with her children, said: “This morning at 8.30am I walked over the dam with our dog and it was okay, but it quickly became apparent that the amount of water we had yesterday was too much and was causing a big run-off.”The sluices were opened mid morning but there’s so much water and it’s now currently raining very hard again. There’s nowhere for it to go, the river has already burst its banks and the ground is sodden.”All roads were closed midday and we all got asked to evacuate about two hours ago. Now we’re stuck in traffic in the outlying town of New Mills as everyone is trying to leave and some local roads are flooded. My children are coping well after being worried this morning.”I don’t think I would class it as scary, lots of experts on hand and it seemed well managed. The scary part will be what happens next as all services – such as electricity, gas and medical services, and the primary school – are in the direct line of the water.” An RAF Chinook is being drafted in overnight on Thursday to help prevent the dam from collapsing further.Derbyshire Police said over 400 tonnes of aggregate will be used to divert water from entering the reservoir.Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann, chairwoman of the Local Resilience Forum, said: “To move the substantial amount of aggregate into place – a Chinook helicopter will be operating in the area in the coming hours to allow precise placement and divert the flow of the water.”With all that said, at this time the future of the dam wall remains in the balance and I would remind people of the very real danger posed to them should the wall collapse.”Water pumps will continue to remove water from the reservoir to relieve pressure on the dam wall. Toddbrook Reservoir is on the north-west edge of the Peak District National Park, sitting above the small town of Whaley Bridge.It was built in 1831, according to some experts, while the Environment Agency record it as being built between 1840-41.The structure supplies water to the Peak Forest Canal, a waterway in northern England running between the town and Ashton under Lyne.Owned by the Canal & River Trust, the reservoir is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to local wildlife.Reservoir safety is maintained by inspections under an act created in 1930 and strengthened in 1975, according to experts, but flooding and other weather events have led to concerns about safety of older structures. 9:01PMFurther evacuations take place downstream of river, police say Workers inspect a damaged dam after a nearby reservoir was affected by flooding, in Whaley Bridge, Britain August 1, 2019.Credit:PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS Edwina Currie, the former MP, lives in a 400-year-old cottage above Whaley Bridge. “The first job is to lower the level as safely as possible – that means taking risks further downstream,” she told the BBC.“It’s more important to try to save the dam and get it repaired.“As dusk fell last night the only vehicles in the main street of Whaley Bridge belonged to the emergency services.A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: “We understand that there will be some concern around not being able to return home. However, our priority is to ensure people are kept safe and well and are not taking unnecessary risks.“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate there is a significant impact on this community. However, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.”The Environment Agency has issued a severe flood warning, suggesting a danger to life, covering the River Goyt at Whaley Bridge. It states that the river could “rise rapidly” due to water rushing in from the reservoir.Police have closed railway lines in the Whaley Bridge area amid concerns a dam will burst and cause flooding, East Midlands Trains said.Trains on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich are disrupted due to the predicted flooding. 7:47PMThe latest from Derbyshire police Trauma nurse Philomena Smith, 53, lives on a road above the reservoir.She told The Telegraph: “Many Whaley Bridge residents who were on the bridge yesterday looking over the dam said they have lived here all their lives and never seen anything like this.“If the dam overflows it will join the River Goyt and be a disaster.“Even last night many houses had started to place sandbags up against their doors.“Today the bridge is now closed and the concrete has broken away – the whole village has been evacuated and Whaley Bridge is completely closed off due to the high risk of the dam collapsing.“My husband is working in Buxton but may not be able to get home tonight.” Paul Nash and his partner Janet Williams barely had time to grab their cat and a few essentials before being forced to abandon their home.They cannot know when – or if – they will see it again. “If the whole dam goes, it’s going to cause absolute chaos,” he said.“Probably the village will go, because it [the river] goes straight through.”The couple joined an exodus of more than 6,000 people fleeing the centre of Whaley Bridge on Thursday as the concrete dam began to crumble.The blotched notices hastily handed out by the emergency services left no room for doubt. “EVACUATE your property now”, they read, “Take any medication and medical equipment with you.”As the heavens opened once more on Thursday night, the centre of the picturesque Peak District community was a ghost town, save for the sound of police going door to door, trying to coax out every last resident from the “red” danger zone.Evacuees were told to gather at a school three miles away in Chapel-en-le-Frith while engineers began pumping water out of the reservoir to take pressure off the stricken dam.It will take an estimated three days to reduce the volume to a safe level. 7:03PMTeams work to keep the water under control This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.— Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) August 1, 2019 9:11PM”Horrified” residents fear the whole town could be “decimated” within minutes, witness says Whaley Bridge evacuated amid fears of dam collapseCommunity could be levelled if Toddbrook Resevoir barrier burstsAround 400 tonnes of aggregate brought in overnight to divert water RAF helicopter called in to aid effort Police say future of dam ‘remains in balance’Thousands of residents in the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge have been evacuated amid fears a dam could collapse after it was damaged by floodwaters.Concrete panels on one side of the dam on the Toddbrook Resevoir, which holds back 300 million gallons of water, partially collapsed.By 2.30pm on Thursday it was deemed too unsafe for people in the village below, who were ordered to “evacuate your property now”.There are concerns the village could be levelled if the dam, which dates to 1838, gives way. Derbyshire Police said 400 tonnes of aggregate will be brought in overnight to divert water from entering the reservoir, with a Chinook helicopter aiding a multi-agency taskforce.Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann, chairwoman of the Local Resilience Forum, said: “To move the substantial amount of aggregate into place – a Chinook helicopter will be operating in the area in the coming hours to allow precise placement and divert the flow of the water.”With all that said, at this time the future of the dam wall remains in the balance and I would remind people of the very real danger posed to them should the wall collapse.” An aerial photograph shows the damage to the damCredit: PHIL NOBLE/Reuters 5:33PM”Lucky we live up the hill” 12:51AMWhat is the history of the reservoir? Evacuated from work. Lucky we live up the hill #whaleybridge pic.twitter.com/3K6B3xz2h1— David Brocklehurst (@D8rok) August 1, 2019 The Toddbrook Reservoir dam after it was damaged in heavy rainfall.Credit:PA Derbyshire Police said further evacuations were taking place downstream of the reservoir as work continues to ensure the structure of the damaged wall.A small number of properties in Furness Vale and New Mills – outside Whaley Bridge but inside the flood risk area – are in the process of being evacuated.A number of roads in the area remain closed, police said. 5:52PM”It could cause a massive flood” 5:13PM”If it overflows it will be a disaster” Toddbrook Reservoir near the village of Whaley BridgeCredit:PA Dr Mohammed Heidarzadeh, a professor from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Brunel University London, said: “Due to heavy rainfall in Whaley Bridge area, the spillway is now broken and a big chunk of its concrete structure is damaged.”There is a possibility that the spillway could then become fully broken in a few hours.”If the spillway is fully gone, the embankment dam will be washed away very rapidly which could cause a massive flood.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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