As it happened: Storm problems continue

Key Points

  • Some 56,000 homes were without power across England and Wales after 100mph winds
  • Seventeen severe flood warnings were in place for Berkshire, Surrey, Somerset and Gloucestershire
  • The Met Office warned of further heavy rain and strong winds on Friday
  • David Cameron chaired the first meeting of a Cabinet committee on flood recovery, agreeing to conduct a series of reviews
  • Thirteen high-capacity pumps - brought over from the Netherlands - started being installed on the Somerset Levels
  • Councils were warned not to charge people for sandbags after it emerged that two had
  1.  
    06:00:

    Welcome to all the latest coverage of the UK's continuing severe weather. Tens of thousands of homes remain without power after hurricane-force winds battered the UK on Wednesday, with major travel disruption expected.

     
  2.  
    06:03:

    The Severn Bridge, which connects Aust, Gloucestershire with Chepstow, Monmouthshire, is closed because of strong winds. And roads including parts of the A22 Purley Road, Surrey, the A361 in Burrowbridge, on the Somerset Levels, and the A4094 in Cookham, Berkshire, are all closed because of flooding. See BBC Travel News for more closed roads.

     
  3.  
    06:09:

    The Daily Mirror warns of three "terror storms", saying two to the west of the British Isles will "sweep in to inflict further damage and misery".

    Daily Mirror front page, 13/2/14
     
  4.  
    06:12:

    The Daily Telegraph features a sequence of photographs showing a woman being blown off her feet.

    Daily Telegraph front page, 13/2/14
     
  5.  
    06:14:

    And the i suggests the storms and floods could reduce the UK's gross domestic product by 1% in a month. For more on floods coverage, read our newspaper review.

    The i front page, 13/2/14
     
  6.  
    06:21:

    Rail services throughout the UK remain disrupted, with major problems between London Paddington and Reading.

     
  7.  
    06:25:

    Trains have been cancelled in parts of Yorkshire and north-east England. These include trains between Barnsley and Huddersfield, because of trees blocking the line.

     
  8.  
    Mark Bradshaw in East Ilsley, Berkshire

    texts: We have had three power cuts in 12 hours. With a seven-week-old baby we are really worried that we can't heat or sterilise her bottles (we have no gas).

     
  9.  
    06:33:

    A train had to be hauled to Edinburgh after it got stranded on the North York moors last night. The train, which left London's King's Cross at 18:30 GMT, didn't get moving again until 00:45 GMT.

     
  10.  
    06:37:

    One passenger on the stranded train reported seeing "electric line here, there and everywhere". She said the weather had been "shocking".

     
  11.  
    06:42:

    No trains will run between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe until about 10:00 GMT because of overhead wires damaged in Wednesday's storm.

     
  12.  
    06:49:
    Sandbags

    Efforts to fight the floods continued overnight in badly-hit Wraysbury, Berkshire, where residents have said not enough has been done to help them.

     
  13.  
    07:01:

    Disruption caused by the storm-stricken Dawlish line, along the Devon coast continues. Damage to the track, caused by last week's storms, means the line between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot is not expected to reopen until mid-April at the earliest. In the meantime, buses are replacing trains.

     
  14.  
    Traffic South

    tweets: There are still lots of flooding related road closures in place - too many to list to be honest but please don't ignore the closures

     
  15.  
    07:10:
    Graham Muldowney

    Graham Muldowney is one Wraysbury resident using a pump at his flooded house to keep incoming water at bay.

     
  16.  
    07:11:

    Mr Muldowney, who was up through the night pumping out water, says: "It's unfortunate that we've been flooded but I think it's disgusting that the government or the actual councils haven't come down to start baling it out so we can keep at at bay a bit."

     
  17.  
    Ian Tully from Liverpool

    emails: I left Northampton yesterday on the 16.16 to try and get home to Liverpool from work. I'm still not home. Back to the station this morning to try again.

     
  18.  
    07:26:

    Crewe train station is trying to get back to business as usual after 500 passengers had to be evacuated following a fire on Wednesday. Sheila Breeze, station manager at Crewe, tells BBC Radio 5 live it was "a day like we had never experienced before".

     
  19.  
    07:29:

    Virgin Trains spokesman Ken Gibbs tells Radio 4's Today: "The advice today has to be to check before you travel and allow extra time. We have been able to start running again, but there are still some ongoing problems."

     
  20.  
    07:38:

    The fire at Crewe was sparked by felt from the roof - blown loose by strong winds - falling into overhead cables. Ms Breeze says a nearby hotel took in the passengers. "They were fantastic and looked after our customers for us while we started to make the station safe," she says.

     
  21.  
    07:46:

    Tim Field, of the Energy Networks Association, says 80,000 homes are still without power this morning.

     
  22.  
    07:48:

    Mr Field tells BBC Breakfast engineers have restored power to 145,000 customers since the storms hit on Wednesday, with 68,000 restored overnight.

     
  23.  
    07:50:

    Mr Field says engineers will continue to work through the day to try to restore power by this evening. Mr Field is urging people to keep their distance from power lines, and says while pylons and power lines are resilient to winds, it is debris blown by gusts that causes the problems.

     
  24.  
    07:51:

    "The strength of the wind that we have seen coupled with the heavy rainfall, it's things like the saturated ground that cause trees to be easily uprooted," Mr Field says.

     
  25.  
    07:54:

    The Energy Networks Association says of the homes without power, 60,000 are in Wales, and 20,000 are in northern England, the South West and the West Midlands.

     
  26.  
    07:59:
    Carwyn Jones

    Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones tells BBC Breakfast he is confident engineers will restore power to customers quickly. "The fact the weather is much, much calmer now, the wind has dropped significantly, should mean they are able to work much more quickly," Mr Jones says.

     
  27.  
    08:01:

    The Welsh first minister adds: "I know they are working very, very hard to reconnect people as quickly as they can."

     
  28.  
    08:03:
    Storm in Wales

    Scenes during high tide at Aberystwyth, west Wales last night, as waves break over the sea wall.

     
  29.  
    08:07: Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    in Worcester says the river peaked overnight at 5.68m. He says it's fallen slightly since, but is likely to go back up again during the day - probably to no higher than 5.7m

     
  30.  
    08:11: Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    says the bridge in Worcester is still closed to traffic and will be all day. A shuttle service is being run to keep the city connected. Bridges remain closed in Bewdley and Upton.

     
  31.  
    08:12: Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    says river levels south of Worcester are not expected to reach record levels however, because the Teme and Avon are not quite as high as in 2007. For instance Tewkesbury peaked at 5.5m back then, but is predicted to be 4.75m tomorrow.

     
  32.  
    08:14:

    The Environment Agency has 16 severe flood warnings in place, 135 less serious flood warnings and 271 flood alerts. But what do the warnings actually mean?

     
  33.  
    Jane in Manchester

    tweets: My roof didn't survive the #storm took several roof tiles they've smashed in the back garden! So glad they fell bkwrds & not on my car!!

     
  34.  
    08:20:
    Sergeant Yvonne Saunderson

    Members of the Marine Policing Unit from the Met were out in force in Wraysbury, Berkshire overnight, carrying out security patrols of the flood-hit area. The unit's Sergeant Yvonne Saunderson says a lot of people have evacuated their homes, leaving the area "really quiet".

     
  35.  
    08:24:

    Sgt Saunderson says: "There's very few residents still here and the people who are still here are concerned about their houses being burgled or looted, and we're here just to provide a bit of reassurance."

     
  36.  
    08:24:

    Sgt Saunderson says they haven't had any security problems in Wraysbury, but "some of the houses don't have power and people wondering around with torches is a scary thing if you're worried in the first place".

     
  37.  
    Gatwick Airport LGW

    tweets: Good morning. We're operating fine today. Do check your journey to the airport for transport delays & allows extra time if necessary.

     
  38.  
    08:31:

    The Thames Barrier has been in record use over the past two months. So how does it work?

    Thames Barrier
     
  39.  
    National Rail

    tweets: Trains are running between Leeds and Doncaster with delays of up to 10 minutes because of overhead wire problems caused by the #UKStorm

     
  40.  
    Tom Ponsonby in Liverpool

    tweets: The house is still standing but lost the greenhouse, fence and wheelie bins #wind #storm

     
  41.  
    08:45:

    Use your postcode to check out the risk of flood at rivers near you.

    Flood risk map
     
  42.  
    08:50:
    Collapsed wall

    This brick wall outside Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium was completely blown over in strong winds this morning.

     
  43.  
    Mike Buckley in Cheshire‏

    tweets: Just checking storm damage, neighbours roof sliced through metal shed outside! Would have decapitated anyone if it had hit them! #storm

     
  44.  
    08:54: Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    tweets: Here's the problem caused by #worcesterbridge being closed - the deserted high street at midday yesterday

    Empty high street
     
  45.  
    08:59:
    Joanna Gosling

    The BBC's Joanna Gosling, in Chertsey, Surrey, at a field now covered in water where the river in the distance has burst its banks. "It's just water as far as the eye can see," she says. "The fear is this could get worse with this storm predicted tomorrow and into the weekend."

     
  46.  
    09:04:
    Flooded houses

    Residents in these Chertsey houses have been trying to pump out water. Joanna Gosling says they can't leave because they have to be there to keep topping up their pumps with petrol.

     
  47.  
    Herefordshire Council

    tweets: Our crews are reporting that some people are moving "Flood" and "Road Closed" signs. Please don't. They are there to warn drivers of danger.

     
  48.  
    09:12:

    There will be an urgent question in the Commons at approximately 10:30 GMT on "travel disruption caused by the floods". It's being asked by shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh.

     
  49.  
    09:18: BBC Weather

    tweets: Showers running east across southern England this morning could well give a smattering of snow on higher ground.

     
  50.  
    09:27:

    Ian Tully has been trying to get back home to Liverpool after rail disruption left him stuck in Wolverhampton overnight. "I left Northampton yesterday on the 16.16 to try and get home to Liverpool from work. I'm still not home," he says.

     
  51.  
    09:29:

    Mr Tully says there has been no clear information from the rail companies amid the "chaos". He says: "I'm now at Wolverhampton station, waiting for a taxi to get to Stafford, then a train on to Crewe and a bus service to Liverpool."

     
  52.  
    09:33:
    A roof blown off

    Craig Rawlinson snapped this picture of a roof blown off from a block of flats in Fleetwood, Lancashire. "The picture was taken this morning about 8.30 but the damage happened at 20.30 yesterday evening. I took it from my first floor flat window," he says.

     
  53.  
    09:36: Nicola in Wrexham

    emails: Well done to the electric board for restoring our power overnight. It had been off since 1600 Wednesday and I had expected it to take a couple of days due to how bad the damage was.

     
  54.  
    09:39: Malik Walton BBC cameraman

    tweeted this picture from Headingley Lane in Leeds, where council workers are removing a fallen tree from the road.

    Fallen tree
     
  55.  
    09:41:

    Meanwhile Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has denied a report the Queen criticised the government's response to the floods in a private meeting with him in his role as president of the Privy Council.

    Asked on LBC radio whether it was true the Queen had "waded in" over flooding, Mr Clegg replied: "No." He declined to discuss the content of their conversations any further.

     
  56.  
    09:44:

    Speaking to the BBC's Charlie Stayt in Staines-upon-Thames, Alison Baptiste from the Environment Agency says she understands people's anger and upset, but insists staff are working ''around the clock''.

     
  57.  
    09:45:

    The Environment Agency issues a new flood alert for the River Trent in Nottinghamshire. It urges people to be prepared.

     
  58.  
    09:48:
    Tree toppled in Leeds

    Moza Al Owais in Headingley, Leeds, who sent this photo in, says: "I thought it was only me feeling under the weather this morning until I saw this on my way to work... Poor old tree."

     
  59.  
    09:53:

    Ham Sandhu discovers he has been living with contaminated flood water in his home in Wraysbury in Berkshire.

    Ham Sandhu standing in flooded water
     
  60.  
    09:55: North Wales Police

    tweets: A very busy day yesterday. At it's peak 230 #999 calls received between 5pm & 6pm. Busier than on New Year's Eve. T/you for your patience

     
  61.  
    09:58:

    People around the UK have been giving their eyewitness accounts of the storms to the BBC. One pub landlady says a mammoth wave crash into her bedroom.

     
  62.  
    10:00:

    In western and northern parts of Northern Ireland snow and ice are making driving conditions difficult for a second consecutive day.

     
  63.  
    10:02:

    Meanwhile in Wales work is under way to clear up debris, fallen trees and other damage caused by 100mph winds.

     
  64.  
    10:05:

    Gwynedd Council in North Wales says 29 schools are closed due to either no electricity, storm damage to buildings or debris around classrooms. Denbighshire County Council says six schools are closed due to loss of power, while three schools are closed in Flintshire.

     
  65.  
    10:06:

    Over the border in England, Electricity North West says 11,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm last night, with 2,500 homes still without power, concentrated around the south Cumbria area.

     
  66.  
    10:07:

    The situation on the roads in the North West is improving after a number of HGVs were blown over during the night, according to the Highways Agency.

    Work is continuing to remove an overturned lorry on the northbound M6 north of Carlisle.

     
  67.  
    10:08: BBC Weather

    says today is much calmer, but warns another storm is waiting in the wings in the Atlantic and is due to arrive tomorrow.

    weather map
     
  68.  
    10:18: East Coast Trains

    tweets: Apologies to all for the disruptions today. We have introduced free WiFi on all of our services today in order to help our passengers.

     
  69.  
    10:20:

    Flood evacuee Sue Hewett from Staines-upon-Thames says her family have been living in a hotel and haven't been home for three days.

    Sue Hewett
     
  70.  
    10:30: Chris Eakin BBC presenter

    in Worcester describes a "city divided in two by the swelling of the river". The River Severn hit record levels overnight, and is still rising.

    River Severn
     
  71.  
    Sophie Beaumont in Manchester

    tweets: Hopes my husbands safe fixing all your power for homes in Poole #storm #overheadlinesman #missinghim

     
  72.  
    10:37:

    Chris Bainger, from the Environment Agency, says the River Severn is full of debris and rubbish caused by yesterday's storm.

    Chris Bainger
     
  73.  
    10:40:

    "Our crews are out there working really hard to keep the small streams, brooks and tributaries clear of rubbish," Mr Bainger says.

     
  74.  
    10:42:

    The Environment Agency is urging people to stay away from flood water. It says just six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet.

     
  75.  
    10:43:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has praised teams who have been working round the clock trying to their very best for the travelling public. "We do owe them a debt of gratitude," he says.

     
  76.  
    10:45:

    He says parts of the UK have faced "unprecedented conditions" but they were "keeping the south west open for business".

     
  77.  
    10:47:

    Mr McLoughlin also set out funding to help the transport network in the wake of weather damage. He says £61m would help repair damaged roads and improve resilience.

     
  78.  
    10:50:

    Further to the £31m announced yesterday for rail repairs, the Department for Transport has found another £30m for local authorities to road repairs and maintenance including potholes, the transport secretary says.

     
  79.  
    10:52:

    The M2 in Kent has partially reopened after a 15 foot hole on the central reservation in the north of the county.

     
  80.  
    10:55: Network Rail

    tweeted this picture from Maidenhead that shows the impact of recent severe weather, which it says is affecting its signalling equipment.

    Maidenhead
     
  81.  
    Jackie Goodall in Belper, Derbyshire

    emails: After a very stormy night, I woke up this morning to full sunshine through our south facing windows, but realised they look very mucky. On closer inspection I realised they are covered in salt residue from sea spray. Seems amazing considering where we live, so far from the sea!

     
  82.  
    10:57:

    Western Power say 6,000 properties are still affected by power cuts in the Midlands. Areas affected include Tipton, Birmingham, Worcester, Telford, Gloucester, Hereford and Stoke.

     
  83.  
    11:00:

    The BBC's Sian Lloyd sent this photo from the top of Worcester Cathedral.

    Worcester birds eye view
     
  84.  
    11:02:

    There are 16 severe flood warnings in place, 133 less serious flood warnings and 234 flood alerts. The Environment Agency has removed 85 flood warnings and alerts in the last 24 hours.

     
  85.  
    11:04:

    People are being urged to steer clear of "flood sightseeing" amid concerns they could be causing more damage to flood-hit homes.

     
  86.  
    11:05:

    Inspector Mark Millward, of Thames Valley Police, says residents are complaining that sightseers driving through flood zones in 4x4s are causing waves of water into homes.

     
  87.  
    11:06:

    "So we took a proactive approach to it last night," Inspector Millward says. "We stopped four vehicles that were trying to go through it and a number of them were served notices for antisocial behaviour use of vehicles."

     
  88.  
    Kirsty Venn-Jones in Taunton, Somerset

    emails: We had some very heavy snowfall here in Taunton at about 9:00. Unfortunately it was too wet to settle, but there were some HUGE snowflakes. The wind here was terrible last night but the sun is currently shining. Bracing ourselves ready for tomorrow's storm.

     
  89.  
    11:08:

    Don't miss our pick of the most incredible pictures of storms battering the UK.

    foam
     
  90.  
    Martyn Duggan from Wolverhampton

    emails: I'm still trying to get back to work in Birmingham after my meeting in Edinburgh yesterday. I left at 14:50 before being stranded in Preston at 21:00. I'm currently on my way to Stafford after changing at Crewe. Still no sign of Birmingham!

     
  91.  
    11:12: Environment Agency Midlands

    tweets: Flood defences in Worcester town are holding with levels now slowly decreasing. Not expected to overtop #floodaware #worcester

     
  92.  
    11:15:

    Check out the Environment Agency's latest three-day flood risk forecast.

    Flood risk map
     
  93.  
    11:19:

    Met Office issues a yellow warning for snow for Yorkshire and Humber. A yellow warning is also in place for Strathclyde.

     
  94.  
    11:22: Environment Agency Midlands

    tweets this advice: Don't walk in flood water. Flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers. #floodaware

     
  95.  
    11:24:

    Flooded Somerset gets snow. James Healey took this picture on the A37 in Shepton Mallet, while two severe flood warnings remain in place in the county.

    Snow in Shepton
     
  96.  
    11:28:

    PM David Cameron tells BBC Radio Somerset Treasury rules on spending on flood defences will be reviewed in the wake of the winter floods crisis. The formula requires every £1 spent on flood defences to deliver at least £8 of economic benefit - a rule which critics say unfairly penalises small rural communities.

     
  97.  
    11:30:

    "We cannot let this situation happen again. Of course you get these abnormal weather events but we have got to do better as a country to make ourselves more resilient," Mr Cameron says.

     
  98.  
    11:33:

    Mr Cameron also said he will discuss whether train operators should allow passengers travelling on standard tickets into first class to relieve pressure on space in reduced services in this afternoon's first meeting of a Cabinet committee on flood recovery.

     
  99.  
    11:35: Danny Savage North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    tweeted this picture of one of several lorries that were blown over on the M6 southbound between Shap and Tebay in Cumbria.

    Lorry blown over
     
  100.  
    11:38:

    Large parts of the Somerset Levels have been underwater since last year. Take a look at how the floods crisis there has unfolded.

    A UK Space Agency picture made up of two satellite images showing flooding in Somerset
     
  101.  
    11:43:

    Pam Butcher, who lives in Chertsey, was forced to evacuate her flood-hit home five weeks ago. Work was being done to repair her house when the latest floods returned this week. She says she's devastated.

    Pam Butcher
     
  102.  
    11:46:

    "This is the third time it's happened to me in the time I've lived here," Ms Butcher says. "The Environment Agency, nobody, has done a single thing in this area and I'm really angry today."

     
  103.  
    11:48:

    Chertsey resident Ms Butcher continues: "I've been out of my house and devastated for weeks now. We've had a few sandbags dropped off and all of a sudden, everywhere else is flooded and the military's here and everything now. But it's too late for me."

     
  104.  
    Rob Adam

    texts: I live three miles from the Somerset Levels and today it feels like we're in the eye of a worldwide storm. More misery tomorrow. When will this end?

     
  105.  
    11:55:
    Staines-upon-Thames

    High water levels on the River Thames continue to threaten houses near Penton Hook Weir in Staines-upon-Thames.

     
  106.  
    12:03:
    Staines-upon-Thames

    A walker peers ahead at the flood waters in Staines-upon-Thames, one of the areas badly hit in the ongoing crisis.

     
  107.  
    12:06: Steffan Garrero BBC Wales

    hears from Melanie Plant at the Llanfyllin GP practice that they are running on back-up power after storms battered much of Wales.

     
  108.  
    12:10: Breaking News

    A pensioner who died of suspected electrocution while trying to move a fallen tree brought down power cables has been named by police as Roger Hayward, 71, from Bremhill, Wiltshire.

     
  109.  
    12:12:

    Wiltshire Police has launched an investigation into the incident, which occurred on Wednesday afternoon. Get the full story.

     
  110.  
    12:18:

    BBC News Channel chief political correspondent Norman Smith says Downing Street has told local councils not to charge for sandbags. It comes after unconfirmed reports some authorities have been asking flood victims to pay for sandbags they use.

     
  111.  
    12:23:

    A No 10 spokesman says the cost of sandbags to local authorities can be recovered from central government funding. However the Local Government Association says reports councils are charging for sandbags are not true.

     
  112.  
    12:24:
    Army in Chertsey

    Mike Sears took this photo of the Army being deployed to protect residences in Chertsey.

     
  113.  
    12:26: John Hammond BBC Weather

    warns that the incoming storm from the Atlantic tomorrow will be "every bit as intense, if not more" than yesterday's.

    John Hammond
     
  114.  
    12:28: John Hammond BBC Weather

    says: " It looks like being the wettest winter on record and the ground water is just, it's got nowhere to go. The ground is like a sponge, the sponge is full to overflowing. What we don't need is more rain. What we're going to get is another storm."

     
  115.  
    12:32: Chris Dearden BBC Wales News

    tweeted this picture, taken by local resident Simon Williams, of the charred aftermath of fire on a turbine in Anglesey, which was caused by strong winds.

    Wind turbine
     
  116.  
    12:35: John Hammond BBC Weather

    says there could be "light at the end of the tunnel" with drier spells expected next week.

     
  117.  
    12:40: John Hammond BBC Weather

    With a forecast into the weekend, he says the storm may be "the last really intense storm". He says: "There are signs that the jet stream will kind of reconfigure itself and hopefully things getting a little back to normal."

    BBC weather
     
  118.  
    12:42: BBC News Channel chief political correspondent Norman Smith

    tweets: Network Rail hopeful of completing repairs to #Dawlish rail line by March 18 #floods

     
  119.  
    Rob Nicholson

    has sent the BBC this image of the morning after the roof blew off a nearby office building in Whitchurch, North Shropshire.

    Roof blown down, Whitchurch, Shropshire. Photo: Rob Nicholson
     
  120.  
    Jim

    emails from Evesham in the Midlands: Wonder what the government will do next year when they reduce the army numbers and this happens again. They can't deploy the TA as they will be in their normal civilian workplace!

     
  121.  
    12:49: The Met Office

    tweets that there is an amber warning of rain for parts of heavy rain for parts of south-west England on Friday.

     
  122.  
    12:55:

    Just a reminder of the latest information from the Environment Agency. There are still 16 severe flood warnings in place, along with 129 less serious flood warnings and 230 flood alerts.

     
  123.  
    12:55:

    Visit BBC Weather for an explanation as to what the weather warnings issued by the Met Office actually mean.

    BBC Weather warnings
     
  124.  
    Charles Newman

    emails to ask: Why has there been no coverage of the effects of the stormy weather on the countries near to us which must be suffering the same problems as the UK? What is happening in Holland (the experts in dealing with the sea) and Northern France? The Loire Valley and cities along the Seine must be threatened.

     
  125.  
    12:57:

    A 33-year-old man is believed to have died in a weather-related road traffic collision in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Police said when officers arrived at the scene a tree was partially in the road, and a Volkswagen Golf had collided with a Range Rover. The man′s next of kin have been informed.

     
  126.  
    12:59: Edd Wheeler

    has sent the BBC this picture of the flood level at the Chertsey Bridge.

    Flooding, Chertsey. Photo: Edd Wheeler
     
  127.  
    13:03:

    Councils who have reportedly been charging residents for sandbags have been criticised by local government minister Brandon Lewis who says they have "absolutely no reason" to do so. In Dorset, Christchurch Borough Council was charging £30 for four sandbags. And until the end of last week, Tewkesbury Borough Council was charging residents for sand - although they got the empty bags for free.

     
  128.  
    13:08:

    Christchurch council says it has sold 29 "flood packs" - including four standard and one draught excluder-style sandbag - since Christmas. The £30 price only covers the cost and there is no profit, a spokesman says.

     
  129.  
    13:10:

    However BBC News Channel chief political correspondent Norman Smith says the council said it wasn't charging residents who's homes are in danger. A spokesman said they could not provide "an unlimited supply of sandbags to properties which have not been identified as at risk of imminent flooding."

     
  130.  
    Nathan Williams

    emails to relay his journey home on Wednesday night: I work in Crewe and I was leaving work at about 19:20 on my motorcycle, back to Warrington on the M6. The wind was very very bad - I was in lane three and the wind kept blowing me into the other lane. It was very dangerous to ride in those conditions, but I had no choice as the Crewe train station roof had blown off and there was no train into Warrington due to the high winds.

     
  131.  
    13:15:

    The Met Office also has yellow warnings for snow for Friday - looks like it will be a cold Valentine's Day for many parts of the UK. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Midlands and northern England are all set to be affected.

     
  132.  
    13:18:

    Volunteers fill sandbags outside the Magna Carta School in Egham, Surrey, following severe flooding in the area.

    Volunteers fill sandbags outside the Magna Carta School in Egham, Surrey
     
  133.  
    13:20:

    "Floods tourism" is causing problems in parts of Berkshire - and police want it to stop. They say drivers heading to flood-hit areas to see the damage are making the situation worse.

     
  134.  
    13:22:
    Penton Hook Weir, Staines, surrounded by debris

    Water levels on the Thames remain extremely high. This picture shows debris that has washed up against Penton Hook Weir, Staines.

     
  135.  
    Dave Cheetham

    emails from Kent: You don't have to be in the areas near a river to be flooded. We are miles from a river, but the ground has become so waterlogged that it is rising up in the cellar. We have two feet of water in there, even though it was tanked after it flooded several years ago. We pumped the water out but it started rising back up again the moment we turned the pump off. We now have to pump it out several times a day until the ground water level drops.

     
  136.  
    13:26:

    The Scottish Environment Protection Agency tweets that its Shetland office is closed until next week due to storm damage.

     
  137.  
    Chris Woolhouse

    tweets: I can't work out which is flowing faster, the Thames, or the Staines-In-Thames gags. #staines #floods

     
  138.  
    13:32:

    As the great clean-up continues, members of the armed forces have just arrived in Worcester to provide extra support to flood victims, the Environment Agency says.

     
  139.  
    Rob

    emails from Ramsgate: Somerset has been flooded for weeks now, and still is, with some villages completely abandoned. Yet that seems to be now be "yesterday's news", or at least someone else's problem.

     
  140.  
    13:34:

    Flood water still surrounds housing in Staines-Upon-Thames, England.

    Flood water surrounds housing on February 13, 2014 in Staines-Upon-Thames
     
  141.  
    Millie

    tweets: Army vehicles coming to worcester??

     
  142.  
    13:35:

    Energy UK - the trade association for the energy industry - has released a statement, saying their members are working with distribution companies to get power back on as soon as possible for those currently without. They warned customers not to try to fix things themselves.

     
  143.  
    13:37:

    Rowers on the River Thames are also being advised of dangerous conditions by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, following a number of lifeboat rescues. Eight rowers became pinned sideways against a barge at Dove Pier near Hammersmith Bridge and a quad and coach's boat sank at Black Buoy, Putney, it says, but thankfully all rowers escaped unharmed.

     
  144.  
    Dave Mapes

    emails: My road was flooded on Monday, waters moving back today. The Environment Agency were great yesterday evening, pumping water from the river into the local reservoir, but didn't know there was a flood until then (three days after it started). The local council were horrific.

     
  145.  
    L Buckland

    tweets: Serious praise for Rail men repairing Dawlish line, between tides, an absolute miracle what they have achieved.

     
  146.  
    13:42:

    Residents carry sandbags in the flooded village of Wraysbury.

    Residents carry sandbags in the flooded village of Wraysbury
     
  147.  
    Yvonne Duke in Goostrey, Cheshire

    Emails: During the battering wind yesterday, we lost power to the village of Goostrey. Come 13:00 pm today we still do not have power, this despite the fact that all surrounding areas to the village appear to have power.

     
  148.  
    Ed Miliband receiving a briefing from the Met Office and Environment Agency

    Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted this picture, with the message: "Very grateful to @metoffice and @EnvAgency for briefing on flooding situation & weather patterns over the coming days."

     
  149.  
    13:55:

    Some residents in Shepperton, Surrey, have been refusing to leave their homes despite being hit by floods - BBC correspondent Sam Wilson has been chronicling their stories.

     
  150.  
    14:02:

    BBC Weather forecaster Peter Gibbs says showers can be expected this afternoon - some with a wintry element to them. There will also be chilly winds but "nothing like as strong as yesterday". More rain will be heading into the south of England by the end of the night.

     
  151.  
    14:03:

    On Saturday morning, areas of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and the Midlands could see some ice, our forecaster adds. It will be close to freezing in some areas.

     
  152.  
    14:08:

    Winds will pick up again early on Friday evening, says the forecaster. They will be gusting at speeds of 70-80mph on south-west England coasts. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, with Sunday promising sunshine and dry weather.

     
  153.  
    14:09:

    Here are some of the latest weather pictures that have been sent in to the BBC.

     
  154.  
    14:11:

    Just to show that rain gets everywhere, the Associated Press's round-up of weather conditions from cities around the world records that the warmest of all is Panama City with a very balmy 34C - but even there, they are predicting rainfall tomorrow.

     
  155.  
    14:11:

    Around 100 troops from the 1st battalion the Royal Irish Regiment based in Shropshire have arrived in Worcester to help with the flood relief effort. More than 400 are also on standby at their base at Ternhill.

     
  156.  
    14:12:

    A spokesman says the Army is still considering how the troops will be deployed in Worcester, but the unit have brought a fleet of 4x4s ready to help.

     
  157.  
    Environment Agency Midlands

    tweets: Barriers at Upton and Bewdley holding back current levels and from current forecasts we expect them to carry on holding

     
  158.  
    Phil Mackie News Correspondent
    Police in Worcester

    tweets: Emergency #worcesterfloods meeting on the bridge

     
  159.  
    14:20:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is ordering councils not to charge residents for sandbags in flood-hit areas.

     
  160.  
    14:22:

    Mr Pickles issued a written statement to Parliament, explaining local authorities will be reimbursed for the costs of sandbags under the Bellwin scheme.

     
  161.  
    14:23:

    "For the avoidance of doubt, where local authorities issue sandbags as a result of an emergency the cost can be claimed through the Bellwin scheme," Mr Pickles says. "In that context, I wish to be clear that no local authority should be charging their residents for sandbags."

     
  162.  
    14:25:

    "Wind lifted off the whole roof". BBC News website readers hit by the stormy weather have been sharing their stories. You can read a selection here.

     
  163.  
    14:30:

    The communities secretary is also extending the Bellwin scheme, which reimburses local authorities for some flood-related costs, so that councils will now have until the end of May to claim money. They will also be able to get some of it in advance of spending it.

     
  164.  
    14:31:

    Representatives of the UK's bus and coach industry have been meeting Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to discuss problems caused by the floods. Both sides agreed the government should establish an early-warning system so that bus firms can respond quicker and put on extra services when weather causes extreme disruption to the rail network. "We need to make it as easy as possible for the public to reach their destinations by alternative means," says Mr McLoughlin.

     
  165.  
    14:38: Breaking News

    The first of the 13 high-capacity pumps - from the Netherlands - that are being installed on the flooded Somerset Levels has been switched on at Dunball near Bridgwater. When all are up and running, they will move 7.3m tonnes of water each day from the Somerset Levels.

     
  166.  
    14:39:

    These new satellite images taken from space reveal the extent of the devastation caused by the flooding on the Somerset Levels.

    Satellite flood

    The pictures, taken by the UK's disaster monitoring satellite the UK-DMC2, were taken on 30 January 2013, 9 December and 8 February 2014. The recoloured images, which are being used to help emergency services in their flood response, show how badly the area around Bridgwater has been hit over the past few months since the River Parrett burst its banks.

     
  167.  
    National Rail

    tweets: Trains between #York and #Darlington are now able to run normally following overhead wire problems caused by #UKStorm

     
  168.  
    Danny Savage North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    reports on Barrow in Cumbria. He says: "This exposed peninsula took a battering."

    Barrow

    This is the kind of damage being caused in the town in north-west England, as strong winds continue to cause chaos in the area.

     
  169.  
    15:02:

    BBC News personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey reports that flooding victims are being advised to seek help and advice if they are struggling to pay any bill because of their current circumstances. He says that many banks, councils, energy firms and even the UK tax authority are offering to cancel or delay the requirement for payments, specifically to those currently left homeless.

     
  170.  
    15:04:

    Energy UK, which represents energy companies, says: "We know people may be worried about their bills, so customers need to get in touch with their supplier as soon as possible if they are concerned."

     
  171.  
    15:07: Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    reports that while "flood tourists" are being told to stay away from flood-hit areas amid fears they cause more damage, business in Worcester is so bad that people wanting to take photographs of the devastation may not necessarily be turned away.

     
  172.  
    15:11:

    In an open letter to the public, South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance managing director Tim Shoveller says more than 90% of the network remains open for business despite some of the worst conditions it has ever faced.

     
  173.  
    15:15:

    Calls to North Wales Police "increased significantly" yesterday with 1,865 non-emergency calls and 714 emergency 999 calls. Paul Shea, call centre manager, says: "With the extreme weather conditions, we experienced a significant increase in calls made into the force's call centre. The peak period proved to be between 5pm and 6pm when 230 emergency '999' calls were made."

     
  174.  
    15:18:

    "Although we are unable to distinguish how many of those calls were weather related, we can however say that the number of '999' calls made was far higher than those received on New Year's Eve," Mr Shea says. "Furthermore, non-emergency calls were around 50% higher than a normal Wednesday for this time of year."

     
  175.  
    15:21:

    Christian Gander makes his way through floodwater as he leaves his home on Waterworks Road in Worcester.

    Christian Gander makes his way through floodwater as he leaves his home on Waterworks Road in Worcester.
     
  176.  
    15:24:

    Some statistics on the recent wet weather: It rained for 23 days in January. It has been 60 years since the River Thames was so high. And 5,800 properties have flooded since early December.

     
  177.  
    15:27:

    Residents in Worcester are having to go to some effort to get out of their homes.

    Residents of Waterworks Road in Worcester make their way through floodwater as they leave their homes
     
  178.  
    Phil Mackie News Correspondent

    tweets: Alney Island, #Gloucester severe flood warning meaning defences might be overtopped. Army helping with sandbagging #floods

     
  179.  
    @ojproperty in Oxfordshire

    tweets: River levels have dropped again in #Abingdon & the flood plain on east side of the Thames is doing its job!

     
  180.  
    15:41:

    More devastation on the roads of Barrow in Cumbria today, as strong winds continue to wreak havoc.

    Barrow
     
  181.  
    15:47: Peter Gibbs BBC Weather forecaster

    warns of "more heavy rain coming in followed by damaging wind, particularly on the south coast, through tomorrow night, and some snow as well just to add to all the problems".

     
  182.  
    15:48:

    Struggling to understand just how much water has flooded into the Somerset Levels? Well the BBC's John Hand has worked it out. The 13 pumps from the Netherlands that are being installed there today will move out 7.3m tonnes or cubic metres each day. For those who measure these things imperially, that's 1.6bn gallons.

    Or for those who want to envisage it by the standard measures used for large volumes, that equates to all the water from 2,920 Olympic-sized swimming pools being pumped out each and every day (based on the standard measure of 2.5m litres in a pool).

     
  183.  
    15:54:

    Troops are sent in to help flood relief in Gloucestershire where they will help fill sandbags and clear roads of debris.

    Flooded A38 in Tewkesbury
     
  184.  
    16:08:

    The government is to provide £250,000 to fund extra help from Citizens Advice Bureau workers for flood victims. The money will be used to help flood-hit people find temporary accommodation and offer short-term finance, insurance claims, building works and employment rights advice.

     
  185.  
    16:10:

    Downing Street says the government has also agreed to conduct a series of reviews into the UK's readiness to cope with future flood and storm emergencies. There will be reviews of the resilience of the transport network, investment guidelines on flood defences, and the Bellwin scheme of emergency funding for local authorities.

     
  186.  
    16:11:

    There will also be an "annual resilience review" designed to come up with recommendations for the government's long term strategies for dealing with extreme weather. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Flooding chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron this afternoon.

     
  187.  
    16:11:

    The committee, which will sit on a monthly basis, does not replace Cobra, which will continue to monitor the immediate threats posed by the floods and storms.

     
  188.  
    16:15:

    Workers move massive water pipes as a huge imported Dutch pumping station is set up at Dunball, near Bridgwater, Somerset, at the base of King's Sedgemoor Drain, which is an artificial drainage channel running off the Somerset Levels.

    Workers move massive water pipes as a huge imported Dutch pumping station is set up at Dunball, near Bridgwater, Somerset
     
  189.  
    16:23:

    Hundreds of properties remain at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency warns, as southern England prepares for another battering by the winter storms. The Met Office is warning that more heavy rain and high winds with gusts of up to 80mph are expected.

     
  190.  
    16:27:

    The government's chief fire and rescue adviser Peter Holland says 70% of the fire and rescue services in England and Wales are now involved in the flood relief effort. "We are now seeing the largest deployment of fire and rescue service assets since the Second World War," he says.

     
  191.  
    16:27:

    There are still 56,000 homes without power after yesterday's storm, according to Tony Glover of the Energy Networks Association.

     
  192.  
    16:30:

    "We are working very hard to get people back on in very, very difficult circumstances," says Mr Glover.

     
  193.  
    16:32:

    The RSPCA has been rescuing residents as well as animals in Surrey. A military-style operation has been launched in the flood-hit community after volunteers and local businesses clamoured to provide aid for the most vulnerable.

    Members of the RSPCA rescue residents in Egham, Surrey.
     
  194.  
    16:34:

    The Met Office's Sally Davies says once the Friday night storm has passed the country can look forward to a quieter spell of weather.

    "We need to get through the next 24, 48 hours. As we go into next week it will be more normal winter weather," she says.

     
  195.  
    16:36:

    Speaking on a visit to parts of Exeter affected by flooding, Labour leader Ed Miliband says the government needs to turn "warm words into real action".

    "The Prime Minister made big promises this week; now he's got to deliver on them," he says.

    He also criticises the government's "too slow and inconsistent" response.

     
  196.  
    16:37:

    "For families who are facing the distress of flooding, who are worried about whether they are going to be driven out of their homes, to be charged for the sandbags is an insult," Mr Miliband adds.

     
  197.  
    16:40:

    A fire engine drives past a flooded property in Wraysbury on the Thames.

    A fire engine drives past a flooded property in Wraysbury.
     
  198.  

    BBC's Look North tweets: "#Rotherham Minster damaged by yesterday's gales. A stone pinnacle fell onto the roof, leaving a 2-foot hole. It will reopen on Sunday."

     
  199.  
    16:50:

    Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations at Network Rail, warns that there could be more disruption to come.

     
  200.  
    16:53:

    The family of the 71-year-old man who died of suspected electrocution while trying to move a fallen tree has paid tribute to him.

    In a statement, they say: "We are all shocked and deeply saddened with the passing of our dearest dad, husband, granddad and friend to many, Roger Hayward. To those that knew him, Roger was a larger-than-life character, a friend and helping hand to many and any that needed help."

     
  201.  
    16:57:

    Their statement continues: "There are many stories of this, covering not just Wiltshire but on occasions when on holiday too.

    "Roger was one of life's workers on his farm, never missed a day off in his life doing what he enjoyed to the end, helping others."

     
  202.  
    Charlotte Couch

    tweets: Had the brilliant opportunity to do some volunteer work to raise money towards the Somerset floods, everyone's generosity was amazing!

     
  203.  
    17:03:

    This footage takes a look back to London's 1928 flood - and how the city coped when the River Thames poured over the top of the Embankment.

     
  204.  
    17:10:
    Dutch-supplied pipes being installed near Bridgwater, Somerset

    Dutch pumps are being installed to deal with flood water in the river near Bridgwater, Somerset.

     
  205.  
    17:30:

    Don't miss our selection of the best pictures from around the UK and 10 of the most dramatic video clips from recent days.

     
  206.  
    17:30:

    Here's a quick recap of the storm situation around the UK. Engineers are working to restore power to thousands of UK homes, as forecasters warn a fresh storm overnight could be worse than Wednesday's destructive gales.

     
  207.  
    17:31:

    BBC Weather's John Hammond says the storm will be "every bit as intense" as Wednesday's - if not more.

    The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" warning for rain in south-west England on Friday, as well as one for wind on England's south coast. There are now 17 severe flood warnings in place from the Environment Agency.

     
  208.  
    17:33:

    Meanwhile 56,000 UK properties remain without electricity.

     
  209.  
    17:35:

    As we bring the live page to a close, it looks like there will be no respite from the UK storms tonight, or indeed tomorrow.

     

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.