UK Weather: 77 flood warnings issued with hours until water levels hit peak

‘Avoid using low-lying footpaths and avoid contact with flood water,’ warns Environment Agency

Kate Ng
Monday 02 March 2020 12:19
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Seventy-seven flood warnings remain in place across England and Wales as the UK prepares for river levels to peak in the aftermath of Storm Jorge.

The Environment Agency (EA) has 74 flood warnings in place for England, with many concentrated in the southwest and along the River Severn, where water levels are expected to peak in some areas on Monday evening.

“River levels are expected to remain high over the next few days,” said the EA. “We are closely monitoring the situation. Please avoid using low-lying footpaths near local watercourses and avoid contact with flood water.”

Three flood warnings were issued by Natural Resources Wales, alongside five alerts for possible flooding. There are currently no flood warnings or alerts for Scotland.

A total of 153 flood alerts, which are less serious but still signal potential flooding, are in place across England and Wales.

Three successive storms – Storm Ciara, Storm Dennis and the most recent, Storm Jorge – culminated in the wettest February on record, chalking up a UK average of 202.1mm and beating the February 1990 record of 193.4mm.

Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded, with some houses almost completely submerged in the towns of East Cowick and Snaith on Monday.

On top of record-breaking rainfall, including more than a month’s worth of rain in just 24 hours in some areas, some 15 rivers in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire hit their highest levels on record.

Authorities said that while heavy downpours had eased, there was still a possibility of traffic disruption due to continued flooding.

No evacuations were reported in the worst-hit areas of East Yorkshire on Sunday, for the first time since flooding began about three weeks ago.

The threat of further flooding in Snaith, Gowdall, East Cowick and West Cowick is subsiding due to water levels slowly reducing, said East Riding of Yorkshire Council, but warned that residents should remain “vigilant”.

Paul Tripp, emergency control manager at the council, said: “While the threat of more flooding is reducing, people still need to be vigilant. Full recovery activities won’t be able to start until the water levels have reduced significantly and we are confident they will not rise again.”

Dave Throup, EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, also warned people not to be “complacent”, especially as “almost the whole length of the River Severn is at flood warning level”.

“All the water from the weekend is now in Shrewsbury, it’s worked its way downstream,” he said. “We saw a peak overnight at Welsh bridge of 4.3m so that is a high level, but it’s almost a metre lower than last week so more manageable. But we don’t want people to get complacent, these are still very high flood levels.”

Oli Claydon, a Met Office spokesperson, said although there are continued showery spells expected this week, the weather will be “generally more settled”.

He told The Independent: “There may be the need through the week to issue ice warnings as we are expecting lower temperatures overnight, but things are not looking as severe as they were over the past three weeks.

“There will still be showery conditions, with some longer rain spells in the west and north west of Scotland, and a low pressure system could bring breezy and wet conditions to the south of England later in the week.

“But overall, nothing forecast specifically this week is expected to have severe impacts and things are looking much more settled in comparison.”

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