A police boat patrols the river Thames by the Houses of Parliament, in central London, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. The River Thames has burst its banks after reaching its highest level in years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London. 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 (32 kilometers) from London. There were no flood alerts for the part of the river that flows through London. That tidal stretch is protected by the Thames Barrier, a series of giant metal gates that can be closed to protect the city from surges. England has had its wettest January since 1766.