Shocking photos show a Grade II-listed house almost totally submerged as Storm Christoph wreaks havoc on the country as Boris Johnson vowed to help every part of Britain prepare in the case of flooding.
The Prime Minister, who chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee earlier today, said they had looked particularly at what was happening in Manchester.
‘We have got a situation potentially developing there,’ he told reporters. ‘We are looking at a pattern of rainfall, possibly not so bad this week but worse possibly next week.’
He said steps were being taken to ensure the transport and energy networks were prepared so that electricity outages would not be ‘severe’ and that there were sufficient supplies of sandbags.
Mr Johnson also urged people to heed the warnings if they are advised to evacuate, adding: ‘There are some times where I have been to scenes where, alas, people have decided not to obey the advice and not evacuated.
‘It is their right not to do so if they choose – it’s always people’s right to stay wherever they are. ‘But it really is advisable – follow the advice. If you are told to leave your home then you should do so.’
No10 also committed to providing Covid-secure shelters should they be needed in any evacuation operation.
It comes as the MoD said the Army is on notice to help while 49 flood warnings and 175 less serious flood alerts were raised for areas by fast-flowing water – leading many to shore up their homes with sandbags.
Residents uploaded pictures to Facebook showing Ackhurst Lodge in Chorley, Lancashire flooded as rain poured down on England and the Met Office issued an amber weather warning.
Firefighters were called to the address last night to pump out the water, and a solution to the flooding is now in the works – with Lancashire County Council saying plans are in place to protect the historic building.
Cheshire Police became the latest force to declare a major incident today after evacuating dozens of people from houseboats as Britain’s roads and railways were soaked by two months’ worth of rainfall within just 36 hours.
CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE: Residents uploaded pictures to Facebook showing Ackhurst Lodge in Chorley, Lancashire flooded as rain poured down on England and the Met Office issued an amber weather warning
CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE: Firefighters were called to the address last night to pump out the water, and a solution to the flooding is now in the works – with Lancashire County Council saying plans are in place to protect the historic building
YORKSHIRE: A lorry tips over on the M62 motorway in the strong winds between junctions 21 (Milnrow) and 22 (Ripponden)
SOUTH WALES: A van on its side stuck in a stream in Mountain Ash, South Wales, as Storm Christoph hits the region with heavy rain today
WIGAN: Traffic travels along the M6 motorway outside Wigan, Britain
MERSEYSIDE: A car sits stranded in flooded waters under a bridge in St Helens, where there are after flood warning signs and barriers
NORFOLK: Flooding at the highest level for the past ten years on Wednesday morning in Welney on the Norfolk-Cambridgeshire border
YORK: The River Ouse, which broke its banks on Monday, has flooded York city centre as two months’ of rain began bucketing down within just 36 hours
DEVON: Waves crash over the sea wall where a train steams along the Dawlish seafront in Devon amid strong winds
LEICESTERSHIRE: Flooding underneath the A46 at Six Hills Lane in Leicestershire, as Storm Christoph is set to bring widespread flooding, gales and snow to parts of the UK
The vehicle entered the water at Westgate in County Durham last night, prompting a difficult rescue for fire crews
The Morrisons truck was rescued and this morning made its way through the waters
Crews rescue Morrisons delivery van from floods in County Durham
Fire crews from across County Durham rescued a motorist whose vehicle went into the water at Westgate last night
This is the dramatic moment a supermarket delivery driver was rescued after his van flipped and careered off the road and got stuck in a fast-flowing ford.
Emergency services were called to reports at 5pm on Tuesday of a Morrisons van which had gotten stuck in a ford in Weardale, County Durham.
Firefighters and police from Bishop, Durham, Stanhope, and Middleton all rushed to the scene in a dramatic rescue mission.
When they arrived at Stanhope ford they found the Morrisons van had flipped to its side and the driver was sitting on top of the vehicle.
Bishop Auckland Fire Station said the rescue was ‘challenging’ due to the difficult conditions.
The van was later recovered from the water, the force confirmed.
A spokesperson said:’Difficult rescue in challenging conditions, great work all round.’
The Prime Minister earlier told MPs: ‘Our sympathies also go out to those affected by the latest floods.
‘I want to thank the Environment Agency and our emergency services for the work they’re doing to support those communities, and I’ll be chairing a Cobra meeting later on to co-ordinate the national response.’
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, told MPs yesterday that its teams were out closing flood barriers and clearing drains.
He added: ‘There are no plans right now to evacuate, but that might be necessary and preparations are being made by the relevant agencies as a precaution.’
If the situation arises, Downing Street said Covid-secure evacuation centres would be made available to those forced to leave their homes as a result of flooding.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are live to that issue, should evacuations be needed.
‘Preparations to create Covid-secure rest centres have been made. They have been made by relevant agencies as a precautionary measure.
‘We will ensure Covid-secure rest centres if they are needed.
‘The important message for the public now is to continue to monitor the information that the Environment Agency are providing and sign-up for flood alerts if they haven’t already.’
Cheshire Police this afternoon followed Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire in declaring a major incident.
The force said 33 residents of houseboats on Hayhurst Marina in Northwich had been evacuated and offered accommodation at nearby hotels due to concerns over the level of the River Weaver.
Superintendent Simon Parsonage said: ‘We are continuing to work closely with our partners to monitor the situation and collectively we will do all we can to minimise any disruption across the county and keep people safe.
‘There are currently restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic but I want to stress that the safety of the public remains our priority and I urge anyone who is asked to evacuate to follow the guidance given so that we can ensure this is managed in a Covid-safe way.
‘We will continue to monitor the situation closely as it develops over the next 48 hours and I would urge anyone affected by flooding to keep up-to-date with the latest news on the Environment Agency website.’
It came as the assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester, where a major incident was declared, said up to 3,000 properties in the area could be affected by flooding caused by beset by flooding.
Speaking at an online press briefing, Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said areas of Didsbury, Northenden and Sale near the River Mersey could potentially be affected by flooding, with a peak expected at 11pm on Wednesday.
He said: ‘The worst case scenario, estimated by the Environment Agency, is that it could impact on up to 3,000 properties across all the areas I have mentioned to varying degrees.
‘This is a significant incident in terms of disruption to people and those people have been advised with regard to action to take.’
The severity of the storm was laid bare by the Met Office, which warned that Britain was set to be besieged by the elements this week.
On the M62 motorway in Yorkshire, a lorry tipped on to its side in the strong winds, causing road closures
Merseyside Police even reported a crash after a van was seen ‘aquaplaining’ on standing water on the motorway
A flooded train line in Walsden, Yorks, this morning, as the storm caused chaos on the nation’s transport infrastructure
The Government peppered a map of the UK with flood warnings, issuing 49 flood warnings and 175 less serious flood alerts
Floodwaters in York as heavy rainfall pelted the UK, causing the River Ouse to burst its bank earlier in the week
Westgate ford, in Weardale, County Durham, this morning after emergency services had to rescue a Morrisons delivery van driver when his vehicle got into difficulties while trying to cross
Weather warnings are also in place for tomorrow (left) but have mainly been lifted for Friday except for areas of Scotland (right)
Naburn Lock Caravan Park was hit by on Tuesday. With more downpours predicted today South Yorkshire has declared a major incident, with the army on stand-by to assist in the worst-affected areas
The River Ouse in York city centre has broken its banks this morning as Storm Christoph begins to hit the UK
Sand bags placed against a door of a property in Hebden Bridge in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, in anticipation of Storm Christoph
Powys Roads Policing, the force in Wales for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, shared an image of a Jaguar that had crashed in a field amid the bad weather
SUFFOLK: Storm Christoph was already wreaking havoc on the roads this morning, with high winds bringing an oak tree crashing down on a driver in Thurston, Suffolk
Weather brings ‘terrifying consequences for train services, says union
A trade union has warned of the ‘terrifying consequences’ that adverse weather could have on train services.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has written to Network Rail raising concerns that there is not sufficient resilience to poor conditions which could endanger passengers and workers.
The warning came after reports last week of the collapse of part of the Aberdeenshire rail bridge close to the site of Stonehaven train tragedy which saw three people die in August.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Whilst rail workers have been battling in appalling conditions to keep rail services moving, it is shocking that even after the Stonehaven tragedy Network Rail have not been able to identify with us what areas of the railway are at risk from adverse weather conditions and what steps are being taken to reduce that risk.
‘Poor railway resilience and poor weather conditions are a toxic combination which could have terrifying consequences for passengers and workers. We are also deeply concerned that the necessary inspection and works regimes needed are being compromised by budget and resource constraints.
‘Network Rail need to provide answers and action before we have another tragedy.’
Train driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail service derailed in Aberdeenshire after hitting a landslip on August 12 following heavy rain.
Spokesman Oli Claydon described the situation as ‘a timeline of different hazards as we go through the week but the first hazard is certainly of rain and that’s reflected in the warnings at the moment’.
He explained: ‘As we go through the week and the low pressure that is bringing these fronts of rainfall that are persistent and heavy over the next few days … as that low pressure moves east and out into the North Sea, the winds will become a thing really later in the week.
‘Also as the low pressure moves away it pulls down a north-westerly airflow which brings much colder air across the UK again which then presents a further risk of snow.’
Storm Christoph was already wreaking havoc on the roads early this morning, with high winds bringing an oak tree crashing down on a driver in Thurston, Suffolk.
Police tweeted a picture of the car and said: ‘First casualty of the bad weather… this convertible Fiat 500 had an oak tree fall on top of him as he was driving along. Amazingly no injuries.’
In County Durham, rescue teams worked throughout the night to save a Morrisons delivery van that became stuck on a flooded road.
And on the M62 motorway in Yorkshire, a lorry tipped on to its side in the strong winds, causing road closures.
Merseyside Police even reported a crash after a van was seen ‘aquaplaining’ on standing water on the motorway.
It said: ‘Please slow down and drive to the conditions. We have just finished dealing with this RTC on the M57 were one driver lost control after aquaplaning on standing water in lane three. Fortunately on this occasion nobody was hurt.’
Mr Claydon also said: ‘It’s not going to be a short burst of bad weather like you may think of in terms of storms in the past where it quickly blows through overnight.
‘It’s really persistent heavy rain, the rain really is going to be persistent, just continuing all the way through today and tomorrow and into Thursday, it’s really just the prolonged accumulation of rainfall rather than a short come and gone weather event.’
More than 4.7in of rain has already fallen in parts of the country, with 4.9in at Honister Pass in Cumbria in the 24 hours up to 6am on Wednesday.
Nearby Seathwaite saw the second highest total, with 4.2in, and some isolated spots could see up to 7.9mm, the Met Office said.
Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge said: ‘While rain remains the main hazard in the south, further north we’ve got snow and ice remaining a risk.’
Police watch the rising level of the River Roch in Rochdale as Storm Christoph brings heavy rains across Britain
A Highway Maintenance vehicle causes huge spray as it drives through the flooded Mountsorrel Lane in Leicestershire
A surfer makes the most of the big waves caused by the storm off Bournemouth beach, Dorset, today
A plane landing at Leeds from Belfast in the strong winds today
A vehice drives through heavy floodwater in Sedgebrook, Lincolnshire, and kicks up a massive spray
Broome Lane in East Goscote, Leicestershire, was flooded today as Storm Christoph unleashed on Britain
Flood wardens are inspecting the waters of the River Calder in North Yorkshire this morning as Britain braces for another day of downpours from Storm Christoph
Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire said flood sirens in the village of Walsden in the west of the county had been activated, telling residents to turn off their utilities.
The council’s chief executive Robin Tuddenham later said no further activation of sirens was expected overnight as river levels were high but stable.
Floodwaters have already risen in parts of the country, with a motorist pictured stranded in Leicester, and workmen in York prepared flood defences on Tuesday morning near the city’s River Ouse.
A major incident had already been declared in South Yorkshire in anticipation of flooding that could arrive in the coming days.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones tweeted on Monday evening: ‘Key risk areas have been inspected over the past 36 hours, sand-bags have been handed out in flood-risk areas & will continue over the next 24 hours.’
Snow covered Drummond Castle Gardens, Perthshire as Storm Christoph hits the UK