Storm Dennis: Man dies in sea as UK hit by 90mph winds, heavy rain and floods

British army called in to West Yorkshire amid ‘danger to life’ warnings

Peter Stubley
Saturday 15 February 2020 21:39
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Waterfront cafe floods as Storm Dennis arrives in Plymouth

A man was found dead in the sea off the Kent coast as Storm Dennis brought high winds, flooding and widespread travel disruption to the UK.

The body was recovered by rescuers after a crew member was reported missing from a tanker ship anchored off Margate, Kent, on Saturday morning.

Lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter had spent seven hours scouring the area following the distress call at 5.41am.

Another man’s body was found in the water at Herne Bay but police said he had been reported missing the previous night and his death was not related to the stormy conditions.

Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were cancelled for safety reasons and several football matches and other sporting fixtures were called off due to the weather.

Rail and road journeys were also disrupted by flooding and fallen trees due to heavy wind and rain. Gusts of 87mph were recorded in Capel Curig, Wales, and half a month’s worth of rain fell in Cumbria in under 24 hours.

Several rivers, including the Teign in Devon and the Afon Lwyd in Wales, burst their banks while others rose to their highest ever levels.

Nearly 500 flood warnings and alerts were in force across the UK on Saturday night, including three severe flood warnings in the Scottish Borders.

Some residents in Hawick were advised to leave their homes before water levels peaked between 9pm and 11pm.

In West Yorkshire, which was badly hit by flooding during Storm Ciara last weekend, British army troops were deployed to assist residents.

The Ministry of Defence said 75 personnel from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, would be aiding the Environment Agency in constructing barriers and repairing flood defences in Ilkley and Calderdale, while 70 reservists from 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment have also been tasked with providing support where required.

Forecasters warned that conditions amounted to a “perfect storm”, with hundreds of homes at risk of flooding. More than 800 properties were flooded when Storm Ciara struck last weekend.

The Met Office issued eight weather warnings, including several amber “danger to life” warnings, covering the whole of the UK from midday on Saturday until 3pm on Sunday.

Storm Dennis is due to move northwards during the course of Sunday and strong winds are expected to cause transport disruption in northern England and Scotland until Monday afternoon.

Rain and windy weather is forecast for the rest of the month.

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