UK flooding: Storm Frank brings misery as Environment Agency warns of 'danger to life' with new warnings

Three severe flood warnings were still in place on Wednesday but river levels in some areas were falling

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 30 December 2015 12:31
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A Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter assisting in repairing a damaged river bank in the flood-hit Lancashire village of Croston
A Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter assisting in repairing a damaged river bank in the flood-hit Lancashire village of Croston

Storm Frank is bringing yet more flooding misery to the UK today with torrential rain and gale-force winds, as residents in one Lancashire village are urged to flee their homes immediately while authorities battle to rebuild damaged defences.

Three severe flood warnings judged to pose a “danger to life” are in place along the River Yarrow in Croston.

The village has already been hit by flooding and power cuts over Christmas but the Environment Agency (EA) warned that defences had been breached and told people living in threatened areas to leave their homes.

An RAF Chinook helicopter has been sent to take one tonne of sandbags for repairs as soldiers helped reinforce the bank.

Flooding is also expected in 46 areas where less severe warnings are still in place, mainly in Yorkshire and Cumbria.

While levels along the Ouse and Foss are falling in York, they are still several metres higher than average and could rise once more.

Warnings are in place along the Ouse, Aire, Derwent and Swale rivers, as well as in Keswick in Cumbria, Lyme Regis and Tewkesbury in the south-west, Chester, and the Dee Valley in Wales.

The EA also has 85 less serious flood alerts in place, mainly in western parts of England, Wales and Scotland where Storm Frank moved in overnight.

Video: Environment Agency flood chairman heads to the north

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency had issued 60 flood warnings and 14 alerts on Wednesday, although there were fears that number would rise throughout the day.

Large parts of the country are affected, from Aberdeenshire, Moray and Speyside to the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, and more than 5,000 homes were also left without power by gales.

Lisa Pinney of the EA said river levels had been falling but the renewed rainfall increased the risk of fresh flooding in waterlogged areas like Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

She added that persistent rainfall in Wales meant there was also now a chance of flooding in the west and south west of England.

Ms Pinney, a flood manager, said: “Overnight we've had some rain but more wind.

"We're expecting more rain today and into the late afternoon, so we're encouraging people to be aware.

"Based on the forecast we've had, we're not expecting to see scenes like we've had over the past few days and not see flood defence over-topping, for example.

"But we're aware the ground across the north of England is absolutely saturated. We're not complacent."

Sir Philip Dilley, chairman of the agency, was due to visit flooding victims today after he returned from a Christmas holiday to Barbados amid criticism at the timing of his break during some of the worst storms in decades.

View the latest flood warnings for England and Wales here, for Scotland here and Northern Ireland here.

Additional reporting by PA

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