River levels remain exceptionally high across England

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Flooding remains a threat to many areas in northern and central England after heavy rain from Storm Christoph falling on already saturated ground led to exceptionally high river levels, according to the Environment Agency.

Very sadly, around 400 properties have been flooded so far and the Environment Agency’s officers are working hard with partners to help reduce the risk. Over 27,500 properties in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire have already protected from flooding and teams are operating flood defences, flood storage reservoirs and putting up temporary barriers where needed to help protect communities.

At 2.30pm on 22 January 1 severe flood warning currently remains in place, where flooding poses a significant risk to life or significant disruption to communities, there are 139 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 122 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible.

People living in northern and central parts of England, especially around Ironbridge and Bewdley where river levels remain high, are being urged to prepare for the risk of significant flooding into the weekend. The public should sign up to flood warnings and check the latest safety advice.

Dr Kate Marks, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

Our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected, and our teams are working round the clock, deploying temporary flood defences and closing flood barriers, and so far have protected over 27,500 properties.

River levels remain exceptionally high in parts of northern and central England as a result of this week’s rain from Storm Christoph. It could bring flooding to some areas, particularly along parts of the River Severn today and Saturday, with a risk of damage to buildings in some communities. There’s also a chance of localised flooding of land and roads across parts of the North West of England on Tuesday due to further rain.

Environment Agency teams are out on the ground clearing grilles, screens and closing flood barriers. We urge people to keep away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.   

People should check their flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at via Gov.uk or follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

Storm Christoph brought some heavy, and at times record breaking, rain to parts of England. Provisional figures show Honister, in Cumbria, received 123.8 mm of rainfall on Tuesday 19 January, a new daily rainfall record for this winter and 2021. Figures also show parts of Cleveland, in North Yorkshire, received more than their average January rainfall in just a 48 hour period. Tuesday 19 January was the wettest January day for Rochdale (46.8mm), Preston (43.6 mm) and Stonyhurst, Lancashire (43.8mm) since 1954.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Steve Willington, said:

Colder air is now established across the UK in the wake of Storm Christoph. Dry and sunny weather for many today, however, the risk of showers continues. It will be a cold night tonight and a Yellow National Severe Weather Warning for snow and ice has been issued covering large swathes of the UK from 4pm to 10.30am tomorrow.

Saturday will be another cold day with sunny spells and showers some of which could be heavy and wintry at times, especially in the north and west. Another Yellow National Severe Weather Warning for snow and ice is in place for Sunday covering Wales and much of southern and central England. The cold weather will continue into the start of next week with some widespread overnight frosts.

Evacuating people from their homes is a multi-agency decision where all risks are considered. Preparations for evacuations and to create Covid-secure rest centres will have been made by the relevant agencies as a precautionary measure. We would urge anyone advised to evacuate to follow the advice of the emergency services at the time.

Find out if you’re at risk of flooding in England

Sign up for flood warnings

Get help during a flood

What to do after a flood

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