Storm Christoph presents significant flood risk

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Parts of northern, central and eastern England are being urged to prepare for the risk of significant flooding from today and throughout this week, the Environment Agency has said. The public should sign up to flood warnings and check the latest safety advice as heavy downpours are likely to fall on saturated ground.

The Environment Agency is already working with partners across the country to reduce the flood risk brought on by the severe weather conditions. Extensive preparations are being made to operate flood defences, flood storage reservoirs and to put up temporary barriers where needed to help protect communities ahead of the incoming weather.

Previous rainfall and snowmelt means catchments are already very wet, river levels remain high and further heavy rain could affect parts of Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.

As of 2pm on 19 January there are 14 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 123 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible. However, it is expected for this number to increase significantly as rain falls overnight.

Craig Woolhouse, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

We’re expecting surface and river water flooding to affect parts of northern England today and then northern, central and eastern England on Wednesday and Thursday, which could cause damage to buildings in some communities.

Heavy downpours falling on already saturated ground may also cause flooding more widely across England from today until Saturday for slower responding rivers. Localised flooding on roads and land is also likely across central and southern England on Wednesday and Thursday.

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.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said:

Storm Christoph will bring a mix of notable weather hazards across the UK over the next few days. Some locations in central Northern England and Wales could see a month’s rain fall in just a couple of days, with up to 200mm possible over higher ground, presenting a real threat of flooding.

As the system moves away into the North Sea on Wednesday night and Thursday morning we start to see the potential for hazardous snow as cold air is pulled across the UK from the north west with up to 30cm possible in parts of Scotland. With cold air across the UK temperatures will drop as we move into the weekend with a return to overnight frosts for many.

Evacuating people from their homes is a multi-agency decision where all risks are considered. At present there are no plans to evacuate any communities, however 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.

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