Storm Franklin: Flooding forces hundreds to evacuate homes as trains cancelled across north

Over 70 homes have been evacuated in Greater Manchester as third storm in a week batters country

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 21 February 2022 11:41 GMT
River Wharfe floods In England as Storm Franklin approaches

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Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes near swelling riverbanks and trains across the north of England have been cancelled after the third major storm in a week brought torrential rain and powerful winds to the UK.

As the clean-up from Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice continued, Storm Franklin was expected to inflict more damage on Monday as the Met Office issued an amber warning for wind which could cause a “risk to life” in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, a milder yellow wind warning covers England, Wales and south-western Scotland from midday until 1pm.

Residents were evacuated by Manchester City Council on Sunday afternoon after two rare “severe” warnings were issued by environmental agencies in Didsbury and Northenden, where rainfall could also pose a “danger to life” for communities along the River Mersey in Greater Manchester.

Flood risk manager Stewart Mounsey told the BBC just over 70 homes were evacuated. He said: “It has been a big event. The water is really swollen and there is quite a bit of surface water around so people need to be careful.

“It is a difficult decision to ask people to vacate their homes.”

Follow our latest weather updates here.

Huge waves were seen crashing onto coastal areas, homes were badly damaged by strong winds, and emergency services deployed flood defences along overflowing riverbanks on Sunday.

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, urged people to “stay away from swollen rivers” while teams deploy temporary barriers and pumps on the river.

“We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car,” she said.

In Llandinam, Wales, seven people have been rescued by boat after their houses were flooded.

Floor barriers are erected along the River Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire.
Floor barriers are erected along the River Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire. (PA)

Commuters have been advised to stay at home as train operator Northern has cancelled all its services in the northwest. It said there would be no further trains until 10.30am at the earliest.

“Do not attempt to travel, do not head to stations as there are no alternatives”, a post warned on Twitter.

Network Rail posted a message on its Kent and Sussex Twitter feed which stated: “Our advice is to stay home if you can as disruption is likely to get worse as the day goes on.”

Southeastern also advised people not to travel on its trains.

The storm has also caused disruption on the motorway as National Highways said a lorry overturned due to strong winds from Storm Franklin, closing junctions 10 and 11 on the M60 in Manchester.

The M1 northbound was closed on Sunday between junction 31 for Sheffield and junction 32 for Doncaster due to flooding, causing 3.9 mile tailbacks.

This morning, both directions are shut between junction 34 for Sheffield north and Meadowhall and junction 33 for Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

An overturned vehicle is removed on the M60, near Trafford Park in Manchester as Storm Franklin moved in overnight.
An overturned vehicle is removed on the M60, near Trafford Park in Manchester as Storm Franklin moved in overnight. (PA)

Elsewhere, water has been moving towards homes in Ironbridge, Shropshire as the River Severn threatens to bursts its banks. Emergency teams there have erected flood barriers along some sections of the waterway.

Police have warned people to stay away from dangerous “fast flowing” water after the River Don burst its banks in the Sprotbrough area of Doncaster in South Yorkshire on Sunday night.

South Yorkshire Police said: “Many of the footpaths in this area are presently underwater. The water is fast flowing and poses a risk to people attempting to wade through it.”

Last week marked the first time three named storms have been recorded within seven days since the storm-naming system began in 2015, according to Met Office meteorologist, Becky Mitchell.

She added that there will “definitely be some impact” from Storm Franklin on Monday but it is not expected to be “as severe” as Eunice because the strongest winds will be confined to the coast.

On Friday, around 1.4 million homes lost power due to Storm Eunice in what energy providers believe was a record national outage over a 24-hour period.

Ross Easton, director of external affairs at the Energy Networks Association (ENA), said 56,000 people were still without power on Sunday afternoon, and Storm Franklin will hamper recovery efforts on Monday.

Mr Easton told PA: “We’re still making pretty good progress in terms of reconnections, but it’s certainly being hampered by the high winds.”

Giving advice to those facing a fourth day without power, he added: “First and foremost, check on friends, family, and neighbours to make sure they’re safe and well, and if you have any concerns or need extra support, call your local network operator.”

A street cleaner sweeps up Leicester Square in the aftermath of Storm Eunice.
A street cleaner sweeps up Leicester Square in the aftermath of Storm Eunice. (PA)

The Environment Agency has also issued 183 warnings where “flooding is likely” for locations mainly in the north and west of England, and 172 alerts where “flooding is possible” for the north-western half of the UK, London and the south coast.

Some 18 flood warnings and seven alerts have been issued across the Scottish Borders, Ayrshire, Orkney and the Western Isles by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Natural Resources Wales has issued 26 flood warnings and 47 alerts covering much of the country.

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