Heavy rain set to hit areas still reeling from Storm Babet as new warning issued

Around 1,250 properties in England have been flooded and an estimated 30,000 properties have been protected.

Jordan Reynolds
Monday 23 October 2023 16:46 BST
Inside home devastated by Storm Babet as mud destroys furniture

A fresh weather warning for rain has been issued covering a vast swathe of England already hit by flooding as a result of Storm Babet.

The Met Office issued the yellow warning for “heavy rain” which could lead to further flooding in the East Midlands, including Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, as well as much of Yorkshire, including Sheffield, Leeds and York, and Humberside.

The number of people who have died in the wake of Storm Babet has risen to seven and hundreds of people have been left homeless, with about 1,250 properties in England flooded, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

The death toll rose on Monday afternoon as police recovered the body of a man after carrying out searches following reports that a man was trapped in a vehicle in floodwater near Marykirk, Aberdeenshire, on Friday.

Police Scotland said that formal identification is still to take place, however next of kin have been informed.

An estimated 30,000 properties have needed protection against rising water levels, the EA said.

A total of 13 areas broke their daily rainfall records for October last week, including sites in Suffolk, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Wiltshire, Kincardineshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Northumberland, Derbyshire and Humberside, the Met Office said.

By Monday afternoon 107 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, had been issued, along with 111 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible.

Anna Calder, spokeswoman for the EA, said significant river flooding impacts will continue for parts of the Midlands until Friday, with minor impacts continuing in parts of the Midlands and the north-east of England until Wednesday.

Significant river flooding is also possible but not expected in parts of England on Tuesday and Wednesday, with minor impacts possible more widely, due to further heavy rainfall falling on sensitive catchments.

The Met Office warning, which is in place for between 3am and 4pm on Tuesday, stated: “There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded, causing damage to some buildings.

“There is a small chance of fast-flowing or deep floodwater causing danger to life.

“There is a small chance that some communities will become cut off by flooded roads.”

The latest warning comes after 83-year-old Maureen Gilbert was found dead in her flooded home in Tapton Terrace, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on Saturday morning.

Mrs Gilbert’s neighbours said 5ft of water had engulfed the inside of their properties “within minutes” of the River Rother bursting its banks.

Asked if flood defences were adequate, Ms Calder said the EA has been “working around the clock with its partners to help reduce this risk”.

She added: “We’ve put barriers up to help protect communities as well as employing pumps in key locations.”

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf visited Brechin, Angus, on Monday morning, where the storm hit hardest, with the River South Esk bursting its banks and flooding dozens of homes.

During the visit, Mr Yousaf said there will be a “long road to recovery” for those impacted by Storm Babet.

He said the local council would receive the funding it needs to recover. But he warned that any clean-up after the flooding would likely take time.

A woman who died after being swept into the Water of Lee, Glen Esk, on Thursday has been named as Wendy Taylor, 57.

Mrs Taylor, who was described as “the beloved wife, best friend and soulmate in life to George, mother to James, Sally and Susanna and Granny to India and George”, was said to be “a ray of sunshine for everyone who was fortunate enough to know her” in a tribute issued through Police Scotland.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey visited flood-hit Retford in Nottinghamshire on Monday and said residents were asking “why stuff hasn’t happened” since the last major floods in 2007.

She told Sky News: “In that time, between 2015 and 2021 we’ve invested £2.6 billion in flood defences right across the country, that was over 300,000 homes. We’re partway through a programme of spending a further £5.2 billion over a six-year time period.”

Ms Coffey added that it may take “several months” for some people to move back into their homes after the flooding.

She said: “But let’s see what we can do to try and speed some of that along and that’s why our officials have already been in touch with insurers and similar.”

Derby City Council said record-breaking water levels have been seen in the River Derwent and warned cleaning up after the floods could take several days.

Two women died after a five-vehicle crash on the M4 on Friday morning which is believed to have been weather-related.

Four cars and an HGV were involved in the crash on the eastbound carriageway between junction 17 for Chippenham and junction 18 for Bath.

A 56-year-old driver died when a tree fell on his van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday while a man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing floodwater in the town of Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, on Friday.

Waterside Perth saw a provisional total of 203.6mm of rain fall between midnight on Thursday and 6pm on Saturday, Invermark saw a provisional 178.2mm and Charr in Kincardineshire had 183.6mm, the Met Office said.

The average October rainfall in Angus for October is 124.79mm and it is 115.57mm in Kincardineshire.

Unsettled weather will continue this week but it will be “nowhere near as impactful as last week”, Nicky Maxey, spokesperson for the Met Office said.

She said: “On Monday northern areas will be mostly dry with sunny spells, there will be showers in the South West and Northern Ireland, and heavy rain on the Isles of Scilly.”

Tuesday will be mainly dry but there will be outbreaks of rain which will push northwards through the day, although the North West will probably stay dry, the forecaster added.

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