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In pictures: Storm Henk wreaks flood chaos across the UK

Environment Agency issues more than 300 flood warnings after torrential downpours overnight on Thursday

Matt Mathers
Friday 05 January 2024 15:14 GMT
Related video: Pub landlord enjoys a pint in flooded beer garden

From a sunken party boat in London to an abbey surrounded by water in Gloucestershire, vast swathes of southern England have been hit by flood chaos brought by Storm Henk.

The low-pressure weather system dumped up to 1.4 inches of rain on some parts of the country that were already sodden by days of continuous downpours, sparking flood misery for people and businesses across the country.

Also in the capital, fifty people were evacuated from their homes in Hackney Wick, east London after the canal burst its banks.

A major incident was declared in Nottinghamshire, where residents were evacuated as a result of flash floods. The Environment Agency has issued more than 260 flood warningsand rail companies have warned customers to expect disruption on the network.


This image shows the sunken boat which served as a floating bar, nightclub and restaurant in central London. The vessel went under as the capital - which was covered by a yellow weather warning for rain - was hammered by heavy rain on Thursday night.

Bar & Co boat, which was moored at Temple Pier, near Waterloo Bridge, said the venue likely sunk due to the “weather conditions”. There were no reported injuries or deaths.

The sinking of the boat prompted the Port of London Authority to issue a warning, telling people using the River Thames along Temple Pier to do so with “great caution”.

(Marcin Nowak/LNP)

In east London, cars were left partially submerged and properties evacuated after a canal in Hackney Wick burst its banks as relentless rain wreaked havoc in the area.

Water flooded about ten acres of land and several properties, with firefighters taking 50 people to safety. A further 100 people were able to remain in their properties.

Forecasters said much of southern England was battered by 20-30mm of rain on Thursday, with 34.2mm recorded at Otterbourne in Hampshire.  Warnings remained in places across the south on Friday morning and “significant” flooding was expected.


This image shows Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire, where police warned of road closures due to rising water levels around the village.

An evacuation centre was set up in the nearby village Walton Cardiff while people living on Alney Island, between two branches of the River Severn, in nearby Gloucester were urged to leave their homes overnight for a nearby leisure centre.

Train services were also expected to be disrupted: Great Western Railway said: “We’re experiencing significant disruption on the network. Please check before you travel.

“Flooding and a serious incident near Reading last night, which involved police taking control of the line, has left trains and crew in the wrong place.

“We’re sorry for the disruption customers experienced. “Short-notice cancellations and a reduced level of service on long-distance routes are expected throughout the day.”


The Boat Inn, in Jackfield, Shropshire, is surrounded by flood water from the River Severn after heavy rain from Storm Henk. Mario Thomas, the 65-year-old landlord of the pub - which was under water for the third time in 12 months - said the current flood has been “an evil one”.

Mr Thomas, who runs the business with his wife Lisa Thomas, 50, said this has “been the worst of the three” and has “taken us by surprise, immensely”.

“It certainly made me cry (on Thursday) to see the devastation it’s caused, it is unbelievable,” Mr Thomas said. “It took us by complete shock and within literally hours, (the water) just kept rising so fast.

“The last two (floods) have been OK, but this one, this is an evil one.”


An aerial photograph taken by drone of flooding from the River Ouse, near York.

Flooding continues to affect areas around the River Ouse in the city. Land and properties between the Scarborough Bridge, Millennium Bridge and King’s Staith have been particularly hit.

Floodwater has also affected parts of Tadcaster and the village of Naburn and forced the closure of some businesses including the York Dungeon.


A man in Nottinghamshire was rescued after severe flooding left him stranded on a shed roof.

In a video shared online, Highfields technical rescue crews are seen pulling the man through deep floodwater in Nottingham on a dinghy.

A major incident was declared in the city  amid widespread flooding in the Midlands, with Nottinghamshire County Council warning residents who live in flood risk areas that they should be prepared to evacuate their homes.

(Getty Images)

A submerged road sign as water levels remain high after the River Great Ouse burst its banks.

Some twenty flood warnings were in force across York and North Yorkshire on Thursday and several were still active on Friday.

The Viking Recorder on the Ouse read 4.3 metres above normal levels on Thursday. The river has been at or near to four metres since 5am on December 29 and the highest ever level was 5.40m, recorded on November 4, 2000, York Press reported.


Environment Agency workers reinforce flood barriers along the River Severn in Bewdley. Parts of the town were submerged by flood water on Thursday, with water levels set to peak on Friday following more rain in the region overnight.

The Enviornment Agency (EA) said: “Bewdley peaked at 4.8m on Tuesday evening. A second predicted peak of 5m to 5.2m is expected on Friday afternoon, January 5, as a result of additional rainfall within the catchment.”

Clare Dinnis, EA area director for the West Midlands, said the river was expected to peak at between 4.8m and 5.1m, and said flood defences were as high as possible.

(Getty Images)

Doreen Cole surveys flooding damage to her property this morning in Islip, Oxfordshire on Friday morning.

An elderly woman died after her car hit a fallen tree in Oxfordshire.

The 87-year-old, who has not been named, was in a red Smart Forfour when she collided with it near Crays Pond, Oxfordshire at around 5.25pm on Tuesday following strong winds.


Water surrounds holiday homes at Billing Aquadrome in Northampton. Residents evacuated from their properties in Northamptonshire due to flooding caused by Storm Henk have said they are “fearing the worst” about damage caused to their properties.

A flood warning was in place for the River Nene at Billing Aquadrome and the surrounding industrial parks near Northampton, with the area having previously been given a severe flood warning, meaning there was a risk to life.

Robert Britchford, one of several residents evacuated from caravans at the site, estimated that around 2,000 people had to leave their properties on Tuesday afternoon.

He said: “It’s the second time in three years that it has flooded. I moved my cars out of the way, and I thought I would try and wait it out because I thought it would be nice today, but no, the evacuation notice went out at 2.30pm yesterday and that was it.

“I’m a bit anxious. We felt it was coming but we hoped it wouldn’t. Now we have to find hotels. They won’t let us back on until this is all sorted, so it could be a month before we come back on.”


A house in the village of Severn Stoke, Worcester, is cut off amid flooding. Five flood warnings were in place for the Worcester area on Friday morning, meaning that flood is “expected”.

Worcester Council said it would monitor flood levels along with the Environment Agency, which provides regular updates on its Floodline service. “We will keep an eye on roads and houses where we anticipate flooding will occur,” the council added.

A view of Worcester city centre flooded by the River Severn (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)
Swans swimming on flood water in Worcester, following heavy rainfall. T (PA)

“Do not under any circumstances be tempted to enter flood water. The flow of a swollen river along with its under-current can be very powerful. Flood water may contain raw sewage which can lead to health problems.”

(PA Wire)

Residents were seen wading through a flooded road in Loughborough earlier this week, after rain and strong winds from Storm Henk lashed large parts of the UK.

Footage showed cars parked in floodwater as several people stood to observe the scene outside their homes on Bottleacre Lane.

National Highways said several major roads in England were closed due to flooding with rail companies also reporting disruption.

Meanwhile, residents were evacuated from houseboats and caravans at Billing Aquadrome, close to the River Nene near Northampton, due to flooding caused by Storm Henk.

(Getty Images)

Footage showing a narrowboat pushed sideways against a bridge as water streams past it on the River Soar in Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire, was filmed by a local resident on Thursday amid widespread flooding in the Midlands.

Local resident Sam Harper Ard, 27, said “I live in the village and take my kayak out regularly on that stretch of the River Soar and I’ve never seen it so high.”

The PR manager said that “narrowboats are a real part of the community here” so seeing a canal boat affected by the flooding was “really sad”.

“I hope the owners and everyone involved is safe,” he said.

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