Heavy, persistent rain on Saturday and Sunday is likely to bring significant river and surface water flooding to parts of England over the weekend. Current forecasts indicate a heightened risk of flooding across much of southern, central and northern England this weekend, with impacts continuing in some slower responding rivers into Monday and Tuesday.
It has been an exceptionally wet winter so far with autumn rainfall records being broken for South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. England as a whole had its fifth wettest autumn on record.
The Environment Agency is operating flood defences and flood storage reservoirs, and is ready to issue flood warnings and advice to those at risk ahead of the incoming weather. The Foss and Hull Barriers are already in operation, helping to protect thousands of properties.
Environment Agency teams have also put up additional temporary flood barriers today in Shrewsbury and Bewdley on the River Severn and Billington and Ribchester River Ribble to provide additional protection to communities ahead of expected high river levels brought by the heavy rain.
As of 11:30 am on 14 February there are 12 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 98 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, in place across the country.
Caroline Douglass, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
We have teams out across England today continuing to prepare for the severe weather that we are expecting over the weekend. The above average rainfall that we have seen since the autumn means that we’ll be seeing rain falling on already wet ground, leading to an increased risk of flooding.
We are already operating our large flood defences, including the Foss and Hull Barriers, as well as our flood storage reservoirs right across the country to reduce the risk of flooding.
Our operations teams are also out on the ground putting up temporary flood barriers and installing mobile pumps where needed to help keep homes and businesses safe from rising river levels. We will continue to monitor weather and river levels closely and we are issuing flood warnings to communities at risk to help them take action and stay safe.
With the effects of climate change, we are seeing more frequent periods of extreme weather. It is important for people to be aware of their flood risk and stay safe by signing up for flood warnings, making a flood plan and remembering not to drive or walk through flood water – it’s not worth the risk.
Paul Gundersen, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office said:
Storm Dennis will bring a disruptive spell of weather over the weekend, and there are warnings in place for strong winds and heavy rain. In parts of Devon, South Wales, northern England and a swathe of southern England – stretching from Andover eastwards – rainfall is expected to be particularly heavy and persistent, and these areas are covered by amber warnings because of the risk of flooding and other disruption.