UK Weather: Storm Bella batters Britain

Storm Bella battered Britain overnight leaving hundreds of people without power as parts of the country were left underwater while others faced travel misery due to electrical problems.  

Very strong winds and heavy rain whipped the UK coastline, particularly in parts of Wales and southern England, where severe gales caused damage to buildings around coastal and hilly areas. 

The Met Office confirmed gusts of up to 106mph were recorded in the Isle of Wight while gusts of 83mph were recorded in the coastal village of Aberdaron in North Wales on Saturday night.   

Yellow warnings for rain are in place across much of the UK, with two ‘threat to life’ flood notices and a further 98 warnings and 171 alerts in patches across the England.

The most serious cases were in place at Cogenhoe Mill caravan site near Northampton and at the nearby Billing Aquadrome on the River Nene and parts of Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service confirmed they had received 336 flood-related calls, with Alconbury and Ramsey being the hardest-hit areas. 

Five-foot-high flood waters were recorded in some places as the parks were forced to evacuate over Christmas. Levels had begun to drop but the government as now warned that a new peak was expected after more severe weather today.

Meanwhile, weather experts have said parts of the north west of England, including Cumbria, and western Scotland will see sleet and snow this morning with pictures showing Nenthead in Cumbria covered in snow. 

An Amber warning for wind also stretches from Aberystwyth to Margate – meaning disruption to transport is likely in the south.

In Cornwall, more than 100 homes were without electricity on Saturday night in the Plymouth and Truro area.  Around 50 houses also experienced black outs in Bristol and Bath due to the severe weather.

Newquay Police Response team said that Storm Bella was ‘throwing trees over the roads’, with the latest victim at Kestle Mill, where they were awaiting the arrival of a chainsaw crew to clear the way 

Meanwhile, Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and parts of northern England are also subject to a yellow warning for snow and ice from today into Monday, with a band of rain, sleet and up to two inches of snow set to fall.

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: The Dover coast is battered by waves driven by 80mph winds all along the south coast

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: The Dover coast is battered by waves driven by 80mph winds all along the south coast

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: The Dover coast is battered by waves driven by 80mph winds all along the south coast

Aerial view of the flooding around Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, this morning after Storm Bella brought more rain overnight

Aerial view of the flooding around Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, this morning after Storm Bella brought more rain overnight

Aerial view of the flooding around Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, this morning after Storm Bella brought more rain overnight

River levels on a tributary to the Thames at Iffley Meadows near Oxford remain high with an Environment Agency flood warning still in place after heavy overnight rain. Storm Bella is affecting parts of the UK with heavy rain and high winds

River levels on a tributary to the Thames at Iffley Meadows near Oxford remain high with an Environment Agency flood warning still in place after heavy overnight rain. Storm Bella is affecting parts of the UK with heavy rain and high winds

River levels on a tributary to the Thames at Iffley Meadows near Oxford remain high with an Environment Agency flood warning still in place after heavy overnight rain. Storm Bella is affecting parts of the UK with heavy rain and high winds

Pictured: A tree came crashing down on this Rolls-Royce in Hove yesterday as high winds caused havoc across the country

Pictured: A tree came crashing down on this Rolls-Royce in Hove yesterday as high winds caused havoc across the country

Pictured: A tree came crashing down on this Rolls-Royce in Hove yesterday as high winds caused havoc across the country

Storm Bella continues to wreak havoc as it claimed this Christmas Tree which was blown over in Rode, Somerset near Bath

Storm Bella continues to wreak havoc as it claimed this Christmas Tree which was blown over in Rode, Somerset near Bath

Storm Bella continues to wreak havoc as it claimed this Christmas Tree which was blown over in Rode, Somerset near Bath

Dozens of fallen trees reported by motorists, blocking off roads. Pictured: A tree in Dover took a road sign down with it

Dozens of fallen trees reported by motorists, blocking off roads. Pictured: A tree in Dover took a road sign down with it

Dozens of fallen trees reported by motorists, blocking off roads. Pictured: A tree in Dover took a road sign down with it 

This is how that same area looked before the storms hit over Christmas. Very strong winds and heavy rain lashed the UK, particularly in parts of Wales and southern England
Aerial view of the town of Bedford, where 1300 homes along the River Ouse were ordered to evacuate following severe flooding on Christmas Day
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Aerial view of the town of Bedford, before and after 1,300 homes along the River Ouse were ordered to evacuate following severe flooding on Christmas Day

A canal boat is helped by a water search and rescue team after getting into difficulties in Bedford, where the River Great Ouse has burst its banks

A canal boat is helped by a water search and rescue team after getting into difficulties in Bedford, where the River Great Ouse has burst its banks

A canal boat is helped by a water search and rescue team after getting into difficulties in Bedford, where the River Great Ouse has burst its banks

The Met Office has issued a high number of flood warnings for large parts of the UK as Storm Bella continues to batter Britain

The Met Office has issued a high number of flood warnings for large parts of the UK as Storm Bella continues to batter Britain

The Met Office has issued a high number of flood warnings for large parts of the UK as Storm Bella continues to batter Britain

Parts of the north west of England have seen snow and sleet this morning. Pictured: Nenthead in Cumbria on Sunday

Parts of the north west of England have seen snow and sleet this morning. Pictured: Nenthead in Cumbria on Sunday

Parts of the north west of England have seen snow and sleet this morning. Pictured: Nenthead in Cumbria on Sunday

Snow storm: Storm Bella battered parts of the North West and Cumbria (pictured) this morning with strong winds and heavy snow showers. This comes as weather forecasters warn of weeks of wintery conditions which are set to hit parts of the UK

Snow storm: Storm Bella battered parts of the North West and Cumbria (pictured) this morning with strong winds and heavy snow showers. This comes as weather forecasters warn of weeks of wintery conditions which are set to hit parts of the UK

Snow storm: Storm Bella battered parts of the North West and Cumbria (pictured) this morning with strong winds and heavy snow showers. This comes as weather forecasters warn of weeks of wintery conditions which are set to hit parts of the UK

Flooding in St Ives in Cambridgeshire on Boxing Day after the River Great Ouse burst its banks. It comes as Storm Bella has battered Britain overnight

Flooding in St Ives in Cambridgeshire on Boxing Day after the River Great Ouse burst its banks. It comes as Storm Bella has battered Britain overnight

Flooding in St Ives in Cambridgeshire on Boxing Day after the River Great Ouse burst its banks. It comes as Storm Bella has battered Britain overnight

Newquay Police Response team said that Storm Bella was 'throwing trees over the roads', with the latest victim at Kestle Mill, where they were awaiting the arrival of a chainsaw crew to clear the way

Newquay Police Response team said that Storm Bella was 'throwing trees over the roads', with the latest victim at Kestle Mill, where they were awaiting the arrival of a chainsaw crew to clear the way

Newquay Police Response team said that Storm Bella was ‘throwing trees over the roads’, with the latest victim at Kestle Mill, where they were awaiting the arrival of a chainsaw crew to clear the way

This morning the M25 QE2 bridge from Essex into Dartford, Kent, is shut and in Faversham the A251 Ashford Road has been blocked in both directions due to fallen tree near the Aldi supermarket.

Fallen trees have also left several roads closed in Folkestone, Greenhithe, Pembury and Sedlescombe.

Eighty eight further flood warnings have been issued in England, and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has urged people to check Government advice, such as from the Environment Agency, who have asked people to keep away from ‘swollen rivers and flooded land’.

A statement on their website said ‘It is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.’

In Wales, 110 homes lost power in Cardiff and more than 50 were left without electricity in the Swansea area. Near Telford 150 experienced a black out as well as 116 homes near Nottingham. 

The Met Office’s amber weather warning for parts of Wales and southern England says travel could be disrupted from Saturday night through to Sunday morning.

It also warned that flying debris could cause injury or be a risk to life, and buildings could be damaged in the storm. 

On Sunday 25mm of rain is due to fall in parts of south-west England and Wales – and 60mm on high ground. 

It comes after people were forced to flee their homes on Christmas Day morning due to flooding after heavy rain over the weekend. 

Residents in 1,300 homes by the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire were advised to move out following high water levels on Christmas Day, with pictures showing the river bursting its banks onto playing fields.

Bedford International Athletic Stadium was used as an emergency assistance centre for those who left their homes. Local fire chief Paul Fuller said families faced a ‘dreadful situation’ made worse by Covid restrictions.

Further rain is expected in Bedfordshire on Sunday and Monday. 

This morning, Chepstow’s Coral Welsh Grand National meeting was abandoned due to a waterlogged track after 27mm of rain fell overnight.

The fixture has had no luck down the years on the weather front and once more course officials were forced to admit defeat.  

In Cirencester, Gloucestershire, homes were also at risk of flooding due to heavy rain and council officials have been providing sandbags for those affected.  

Yellow warnings for rain are in place across much of the UK, as well as two 'threat to life' flood notices. An Amber warning for wind is also in place - meaning disruption to transport is likely in the south

Yellow warnings for rain are in place across much of the UK, as well as two 'threat to life' flood notices. An Amber warning for wind is also in place - meaning disruption to transport is likely in the south

Yellow warnings for rain are in place across much of the UK, as well as two ‘threat to life’ flood notices. An Amber warning for wind is also in place – meaning disruption to transport is likely in the south

Storm Bella hits Porthcawl at high tide in Porthcawl, on Boxing Day evening as rain and strong winds effect parts of the UK

Storm Bella hits Porthcawl at high tide in Porthcawl, on Boxing Day evening as rain and strong winds effect parts of the UK

Storm Bella hits Porthcawl at high tide in Porthcawl, on Boxing Day evening as rain and strong winds effect parts of the UK

Waves crash over the lighthouse at Porthcawl, South Wales. There are dozens of flood warnings in place across the UK

Waves crash over the lighthouse at Porthcawl, South Wales. There are dozens of flood warnings in place across the UK

Waves crash over the lighthouse at Porthcawl, South Wales. There are dozens of flood warnings in place across the UK

Windsurfers take to water at Barassie Beach in Troon, on west coast of Scotland on Boxing Day ahead of Storm Bella hitting

Windsurfers take to water at Barassie Beach in Troon, on west coast of Scotland on Boxing Day ahead of Storm Bella hitting

Windsurfers take to water at Barassie Beach in Troon, on west coast of Scotland on Boxing Day ahead of Storm Bella hitting

The extreme weather events have left emergency services inundated with calls for help, with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service receiving 500 calls for help in just 24 hours.

Flood defences had been put up in St Neots, Cambridgeshire ahead of the overnight storm, and extra pumps deployed to the Welches Dam and Soham Lodge areas.

Meanwhile, a Great Dane called Brian was one of three dogs rescued from Christmas Day floods in Bedfordshire when the River Great Ouse burst its banks.

The 45kg dog who is two years old was rescued from a property in the village of Harrold by specialist rescue team from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Environment Agency has now lifted the severe flood warning that was in place covering the Great Ouse through Bedford.

The Environment Agency have advised that while high levels on the river are expected to remain over coming days we are not expecting levels like we saw passing through yesterday and today.

As a result, the emergency assistance centre at Bedford International Athletic Stadium has been stood down while the centre at Bromham Village Hall was stood down yesterday.

Flood warnings remain in place for the River Great Ouse including at Bedford, Kempston, Renhold, Great Barford, Roxton, Bromham, Biddenham, Felmersham, Sharnbrook, Bletose, Pavenham, Milton Ernest, Oakley, Clapham, Odell and Turvey.

Rescue workers with Brian the Great Dane who was one of three dogs rescued from flooded properties in Bedfordshire

Rescue workers with Brian the Great Dane who was one of three dogs rescued from flooded properties in Bedfordshire

Rescue workers with Brian the Great Dane who was one of three dogs rescued from flooded properties in Bedfordshire

A severe flood warning was issued for areas along the River Great Ouse by the Environment Agency on Christmas Day

A severe flood warning was issued for areas along the River Great Ouse by the Environment Agency on Christmas Day

A severe flood warning was issued for areas along the River Great Ouse by the Environment Agency on Christmas Day

People on a bridge look at a flooded area in Great Barford, near Bedford. Many had to leave their homes on Christmas Day

People on a bridge look at a flooded area in Great Barford, near Bedford. Many had to leave their homes on Christmas Day

People on a bridge look at a flooded area in Great Barford, near Bedford. Many had to leave their homes on Christmas Day

Cars drive through a flooded street in Great Barford, near Bedford. Bedford International Athletic Stadium was used as an emergency assistance centre for those who were forced to leave their homes as severe flooding warnings were put in place

Cars drive through a flooded street in Great Barford, near Bedford. Bedford International Athletic Stadium was used as an emergency assistance centre for those who were forced to leave their homes as severe flooding warnings were put in place

Cars drive through a flooded street in Great Barford, near Bedford. Bedford International Athletic Stadium was used as an emergency assistance centre for those who were forced to leave their homes as severe flooding warnings were put in place

Storm Bella is expected to bring rain and high winds overnight. The Environment Agency are advising that while river levels will remain high we should not see the level of impact seen locally in recent days, but the public are urged to stay vigilant, monitor the flood warnings, and stay prepared.

Officers are still out monitoring water levels and activity on the river. If your property is at risk of flooding and there is threat to life, please call 999 and ask for Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said ‘A huge thank you must go to all the organisations, groups and volunteers who have been part of the response to this flood.

‘From Council officers, emergency services, local flood groups, the very many volunteer groups who supported the effort and the numerous offers of support we received from the public- thank you to you all.

Waves crash over Newhaven Lighthouse and harbour wall on the south coast of England as Storm Bella rages on this morning

Waves crash over Newhaven Lighthouse and harbour wall on the south coast of England as Storm Bella rages on this morning

Waves crash over Newhaven Lighthouse and harbour wall on the south coast of England as Storm Bella rages on this morning

Most of UK is subject to weather warnings as Storm Bella, with wind gusts of more than 100mph passes across the country

Most of UK is subject to weather warnings as Storm Bella, with wind gusts of more than 100mph passes across the country

Most of UK is subject to weather warnings as Storm Bella, with wind gusts of more than 100mph passes across the country

‘It really does speak to Bedford Borough’s incredible community spirit.

‘With flood warnings still in force, please keep being cautious and prepared. Do not drive or walk through floodwaters, and keep yourselves and your families safe.’ 

In Cornwall, more than 100 homes were without electricity last night in the Plymouth and Truro area, and 50 were blacked out in Bristol and Bath while in Wales, 110 were hit in Cardiff and more than 50 in the Swansea area.

The storm was hitting further inland too – nearly 150 homes were blacked out near Telford and another 116 near Nottingham.

Power board engineers were working in ‘rapidly deteriorating’ conditions to find then fix the faults in the teeth of the howling wind and driving rain.

Homes were flooded as river levels rose at Cirencester, Gloucestershire, where one shivering, elderly woman had to try to buy a torch because she’d had no electricity or heating for more than 12 hours.

Aerial view of flooding on the river Severn in Worcestershire where many residents are still at high risk of flooding

Aerial view of flooding on the river Severn in Worcestershire where many residents are still at high risk of flooding

Aerial view of flooding on the river Severn in Worcestershire where many residents are still at high risk of flooding

The Met Office has issued more than 80 flood warnings for large parts of the UK. Pictured: the River Severn in Worcestershire

The Met Office has issued more than 80 flood warnings for large parts of the UK. Pictured: the River Severn in Worcestershire

The Met Office has issued more than 80 flood warnings for large parts of the UK. Pictured: the River Severn in Worcestershire

Storm Bella battered Britain with heavy rain leaving large areas under water today including Worcestershire (pictured)

Storm Bella battered Britain with heavy rain leaving large areas under water today including Worcestershire (pictured)

Storm Bella battered Britain with heavy rain leaving large areas under water today including Worcestershire (pictured)

Cotswold District Council said it is providing sandbags and is in contact with those families who have been affected and face suffering more upheaval.

The council leader, Joe Harris, said: ‘We know that a number of our residents have had their Christmas ruined and we are doing all we can to support them.

‘We are working with Cirencester Town Council which is providing local support and we are liaising with parish councils in Siddington and South Cerney which are also experiencing rising river levels and may have residents whose homes are under threat of flooding.

‘We are replenishing sand bag supplies for communities at risk where the town and parish councils have already exhausted their supplies.’

He said the parish church in Cirencester was open for people to warm up, charge mobile phones, use the toilets and get a hot drink.

In a post on Facebook, people were reminded to wear face masks inside the church and only visit with members of their household or bubble.

Cornwall’s world-famous Eden Project is to stay closed until well into the New Year because of the threat of more landslides.

Pictured: A rainbow over Great Doddington in Northamptonshire, after residents living near the River Great Ouse in north Bedfordshire were "strongly urged" to seek alternative accommodation due to fears of flooding caused by Storm Bella

Pictured: A rainbow over Great Doddington in Northamptonshire, after residents living near the River Great Ouse in north Bedfordshire were "strongly urged" to seek alternative accommodation due to fears of flooding caused by Storm Bella

Pictured: A rainbow over Great Doddington in Northamptonshire, after residents living near the River Great Ouse in north Bedfordshire were ‘strongly urged’ to seek alternative accommodation due to fears of flooding caused by Storm Bella

A man and woman kayak on a flooded Worcester Racecourse after Storm Bella caused severe flooding in the area

A man and woman kayak on a flooded Worcester Racecourse after Storm Bella caused severe flooding in the area

A man and woman kayak on a flooded Worcester Racecourse after Storm Bella caused severe flooding in the area

Under water: Flooding at the Worcester Rowing Club this morning caused by Storm Bella's heavy wind and rain

Under water: Flooding at the Worcester Rowing Club this morning caused by Storm Bella's heavy wind and rain

Under water: Flooding at the Worcester Rowing Club this morning caused by Storm Bella’s heavy wind and rain

The tourist attraction, built in a disused china clay quarry near St Austell, was forced to close for safety reasons last Sunday following day after day of rain.

Tons of rock and earth began sliding down the hill towards the biodomes, which cost £86 million and opened in 2001.

In 2002 they were used in scenes for the James Bond film Die Another Day starring Pierce Brosnan, Judy Dench and Halle Berry.

With the threat of more heavy rain and flooding, bosses said on Tuesday that they would make another review on Boxing Day.

But they announced last night they are taking no chances and it will stay shut until at least January 6th.

The ground around the quarry is saturated and the fear is that more storms will cause further landslips.

It’s a big blow to the attraction who say anyone booking tickets can claim refunds.

A spokesman said they were ‘very sorry’ to disappoint people who had planned visits but they added ‘The safety of all visitors and staff remains our top priority.

‘Ticketholders for the days Eden is closed will be automatically refunded.’

The site was closed early on Sunday as a safety precaution after high volumes of rainwater caused several landslips on the side of the former quarry and damaged the road above it.

Work has continued to pump out and control the flow of water, survey the full extent of the damage and to plan a safe re-opening.

Visitors are asked to check on the website www.edenproject.com and on Eden’s social media channels for further updates as to when the project will be able to reopen.

A spokesman said staff were ‘grateful for the many messages of support from the public since the closure’. 

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: Flooding on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: Flooding on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland

Storm Bella has battered the UK, leaving hundreds of people without power as winds hit 83mph and dozens of new flood warnings were put in place. Pictured: Flooding on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland

People walk on the Great South wall in Dublin as Storm Bella approaches. Sunday will bring disruption to much of the UK

People walk on the Great South wall in Dublin as Storm Bella approaches. Sunday will bring disruption to much of the UK

People walk on the Great South wall in Dublin as Storm Bella approaches. Sunday will bring disruption to much of the UK

In Ireland, Met Eireann issued a country-wide status yellow wind and rain warning, in force until 4am today.

As well as the stormy conditions, temperatures will stay frosty in some parts into next week, leading health professionals to offer advice on how to keep safe in colder weather.

Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, consultant in public health at Public Health England said: ‘Heat your home to at least 18C if you can, particularly if you have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease.’

Ferry operator DFDS said its services from Newhaven, East Sussex, to Dieppe, France, had been cancelled on Saturday evening and for all day on Sunday, because of the unsettled weather in the channel.

Storm Bella follows relatively calm and cold conditions across the UK on Friday, which saw a white Christmas for some more northerly parts of the country.

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