BBC Online : Several water gauges along the River Thames have measured record levels as flood waters continue to rise. Sixteen severe flood warnings are in place, including 14 in Berkshire and Surrey with police warning 2,500 homes are at risk and two in Somerset. The Environment Agency is warning of rising water in the Somerset Levels. Its chairman Lord Smith, has hit back at critics, saying his staff knew “100 times” more about flooding than any politician. “I have kept my counsel up to now, but when I hear someone criticising the expertise and the professionalism of my staff in the Environment Agency, who know 100 times more about flood risk management than any politician ever does, I’m afraid I’m not going to sit idly by, ” he said. “The Environment Agency is bound by the rules that are laid down by government.” He was speaking after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said ministers had been given bad advice over river dredging. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, on a visit to Somerset on Monday, also said dredging should have been done over the last few years. Forecasters said Monday would be the driest day of the week but rivers could continue to rise as previous rainfall worked its way downstream. Several Thames gauges are currently showing their highest levels since being installed in the 1980s and 90s. It’s certain to infuriate those residents effected by flooding – but the floods crisis now appears to have developed into an ugly ‘blame game’ among the politicians.