Flood hell continues for thousands with 358 areas on alert for mayhem in wake of Storm Christoph

Thousands across the country are braced for more flooding in the wake of Storm Christoph as the Met Office warned of ice danger and said the UK is set ‘to get more wintry’ with -10C over the weekend.

Care home residents were among those evacuated after floods in several areas across the North West and Wales following days of heavy rain.

A Met Office forecaster has said, however, that it is going to be ‘more wintry now’ as the storm moves away to the east.

Meteorologist Craig Snell added: ‘We’re losing the rain but gaining some colder and possibly some wintry weather too.’ A yellow weather warning for ice is in place along a large part of western coasts until 10am on Friday.

The alert – which stretches from the Scottish Highlands, down to the north west of England and into Wales, as well as covering Northern Ireland – says there is the possibility of injuries from icy conditions on ground which is already wet.

An additional yellow warning for snow and ice is in place across northern parts of Scotland until Friday lunchtime.

Council workers and environmental health workers work on clearing away water which flooded the centre of Northwich in Cheshire

Council workers and environmental health workers work on clearing away water which flooded the centre of Northwich in Cheshire

Council workers and environmental health workers work on clearing away water which flooded the centre of Northwich in Cheshire

Two council workers smile for a photograph as they stand in flood water before working to clear it in Northwich, Cheshire

Two council workers smile for a photograph as they stand in flood water before working to clear it in Northwich, Cheshire

Two council workers smile for a photograph as they stand in flood water before working to clear it in Northwich, Cheshire

The teams of council workers are doing their best to pump away the huge quantity of flld water after the River Weaver burst its banks in Cheshire

The teams of council workers are doing their best to pump away the huge quantity of flld water after the River Weaver burst its banks in Cheshire

The teams of council workers are doing their best to pump away the huge quantity of flld water after the River Weaver burst its banks in Cheshire

Flood barriers have been put up in York city centre overnight as workmen and fire services try to defend businesses from the flooding

Flood barriers have been put up in York city centre overnight as workmen and fire services try to defend businesses from the flooding

Flood barriers have been put up in York city centre overnight as workmen and fire services try to defend businesses from the flooding

North Wales Police slam people who drove to flood-hit areas to take photos

North Wales Police have slammed people who broke Covid travel rules by driving to take pictures of the floods which has driven families from their homes.

Houses were evacuated and people are sheltering in emergency rest centres after a storm-swollen river burst its banks in Ruthin. Police and other emergency workers were ‘appalled’ to see people arriving in cars and taking photographs.

North Wales Police, Denbighshire Council and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service teams battled top help families after Storm Christoph wreaked havoc.

A police spokesman said ‘Regrettably, people who do not live locally are driving to the area to see the floods. Not only is this in contravention of the Covid travel restrictions, it is putting lives at risk.

‘Emergency services are currently extremely busy trying to keep the public safe across the region. Please do not stretch our resources by adding to the problem.’

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The chilly weather will continue into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and could dip as low as minus seven in parts of England, Mr Snell said.

He went on: ‘It will be feeling cold, I think that certainly that will be something that we will all be noticing it will be colder than it was to start the week.’

‘I think the main thing for most of us will be that we will see some frosty nights and with the ground wet from the rain we’ve had we may well see some icy patches,’ he later added.

Dozens of care home residents were among those escorted from their homes as floodwaters rose in Cheshire on Thursday.

Around 40 residents were assisted out of the Weaver Court care home in Northwich, Cheshire, by fire crews with dinghies on Thursday afternoon, as most of the town centre laid under water.

Earlier in the day, Cheshire Fire and Rescue had said it was in the process of rescuing 21 people by boat from Lea Court nursing home in the town of Warrington.

Elsewhere, people were also told to leave their homes in the Didsbury and Northenden areas of Greater Manchester, Bangor-on-Dee in North Wales and in the Skewen area of Neath, North Wales.

Meanwhile, South Wales Police said on Twitter that the body of a man had been recovered from the River Taff near Blackweir in Cardiff on Thursday, with the death being treated as unexplained.

In Wales, emergency teams were called out to protect supplies of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine following flooding at Wrexham Industrial Estate.

The chilly weather will continue into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and could dip as low as minus seven in parts of England, Mr Snell said. Pictured: Northwich today

The chilly weather will continue into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and could dip as low as minus seven in parts of England, Mr Snell said. Pictured: Northwich today

The chilly weather will continue into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and could dip as low as minus seven in parts of England, Mr Snell said. Pictured: Northwich today

Businesses such as Holland and Barrett and Vision Express put sand bags in their doorways in a bid to keep out the flooding in Northwich, Chshire, today

Businesses such as Holland and Barrett and Vision Express put sand bags in their doorways in a bid to keep out the flooding in Northwich, Chshire, today

Businesses such as Holland and Barrett and Vision Express put sand bags in their doorways in a bid to keep out the flooding in Northwich, Chshire, today

The historic city of York is picture under flood water this morning, with some homes having lights on despite the deluge reaching their doorsteps

The historic city of York is picture under flood water this morning, with some homes having lights on despite the deluge reaching their doorsteps

The historic city of York is picture under flood water this morning, with some homes having lights on despite the deluge reaching their doorsteps

York city centre remains under flood water with paths and roads closed off to the public due to wet weather across the country

York city centre remains under flood water with paths and roads closed off to the public due to wet weather across the country

York city centre remains under flood water with paths and roads closed off to the public due to wet weather across the country

Flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire remain in place this morning as the River Severn could burst its banks again

Flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire remain in place this morning as the River Severn could burst its banks again

Flood defences in Bewdley in Worcestershire remain in place this morning as the River Severn could burst its banks again

Three severe flood warnings – signifying a threat to life – remain in place on Friday morning on the River Dee at Farndon, Bangor-on-Dee and the Lower Dee Valley near Llangollen.

As of 5am on Friday morning, there were an additional 182 flood warnings and 176 less serious flood alerts still in place in England, 13 flood warnings and 27 flood alerts in Wales and four flood alerts in Scotland.

Areas which were hit the hardest by Storm Christoph experienced less rainfall on Thursday, with the highest daily total instead being recorded in Oxfordshire.

Overall, 31mm fell in Bicester between midnight and 8pm, and the second highest total was in Aberdeenshire, where 29mm fell over the same period.

‘Thankfully the areas that saw a lot of the rain on Tuesday and Wednesday have certainly been a bit drier today,’ Mr Snell said.

Environment Secretary George Eustice chaired a Cobra meeting in response to the ongoing flooding on Thursday afternoon, but reiterated ‘the danger has not passed’.

Mr Eustice said in a statement: ‘The water levels remain high and there is the risk of possible further flooding next week so everyone needs to remain vigilant, follow the advice and sign up for flood alerts.’

Fire crews rescue care home residents in Northwich from rising flood water on a chaotic afternoon yesterday, pictured

Fire crews rescue care home residents in Northwich from rising flood water on a chaotic afternoon yesterday, pictured

Fire crews rescue care home residents in Northwich from rising flood water on a chaotic afternoon yesterday, pictured

Gabrielle Burns-Smith surveys the scene in her flooded home on the outskirts of Lymm in Cheshire yesterday morning

Gabrielle Burns-Smith surveys the scene in her flooded home on the outskirts of Lymm in Cheshire yesterday morning

Gabrielle Burns-Smith surveys the scene in her flooded home on the outskirts of Lymm in Cheshire yesterday morning

Firefighters evacuate the residents of a care home in Northwich, Cheshire, yesterday after the River Weaver burst its banks

Firefighters evacuate the residents of a care home in Northwich, Cheshire, yesterday after the River Weaver burst its banks

Firefighters evacuate the residents of a care home in Northwich, Cheshire, yesterday after the River Weaver burst its banks

Flooding hit parts of Hereford yesterday afternoon after Storm Christoph brought heavy rain and the River Wye burst its banks

Flooding hit parts of Hereford yesterday afternoon after Storm Christoph brought heavy rain and the River Wye burst its banks

Flooding hit parts of Hereford yesterday afternoon after Storm Christoph brought heavy rain and the River Wye burst its banks

Boris Johnson flew into a flood-hit area of Greater Manchester in an RAF helicopter after emergency services worked through the night elsewhere to protect a factory and warehouse involved in making a Covid-19 vaccine.

The Prime Minister spoke to some of the thousands of residents forced out of their homes in Didsbury after the storm swept across the country leaving thousands of people having to be evacuated amid major flooding.

Mr Johnson, who warned yesterday that ‘there will be more to come’, made a quick dash to Didsbury just hours after the worst of the storm hit. 

It comes after he was criticised in March 2020 for taking three weeks to visit flood-hit towns in the Midlands, months after being heckled in November 2019 when visiting deluged areas of the North.

The Prime Minister suggested a major tree-planting programme could help protect against flooding in the long term.

He said: ‘One idea that everybody in the Environment Agency talks about, and I believe in absolutely passionately, is planting trees on the higher ground to help absorb some of that rainfall, to help mitigate the effects of flooding.

‘This Government has a very ambitious tree-planting programme, but, in my view, we’re not going fast enough.

‘As the spring comes and we come out of the pandemic, we’re going to want to see a lot done to build in long-term resilience against flooding and against climate change, and planting trees is a big part of that.’

Mr Johnson also defended the Government’s record on funding flood defences. ‘A huge amount has been done here in Greater Manchester, another £60 million has been put in to protecting the Greater Manchester area,’ he said.

‘You can see the defences that we have in place to protect people’s homes and people’s lives. But, be in no doubt, everybody who visits a flood area, anybody who has been through a flood knows the huge psychological, emotional and financial cost of flooding to people.’

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there had been a repeated pattern of floods followed by an ‘inadequate response’.

He told reporters in London: ‘We need to have a long-lasting solution to this, not promises that then aren’t fulfilled.’

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