Homes evacuated and power cuts as Storm Frank hits UK
- 31 December 2015
- From the section UK
Storm Frank has battered parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving more severe floods in its wake.
Scotland bore the brunt of the bad weather with hundreds of homes evacuated in the Borders towns of Dumfries, Hawick and Peebles.
Hundreds of homes are without power in Yorkshire. Two severe flood warnings are in place in Scotland and dozens of flood warnings remain in place UK-wide.
Experts said the worst of the rain had passed but more flooding was likely.
In Dumfries and Galloway, the River Nith has burst its banks causing flooding in the town of Dumfries. A severe flood warning, indicating danger to life, has been issued for the Whitesands area. The villages of Moffat and Carsphairn have been cut off and fire crews have been rescuing people from properties by boat.
The River Tweed in Peebles also has a severe flood warning in place and more than 300 homes have been evacuated in Hawick.
Emergency services responded to reports of a missing kayaker on the River Findhorn in Moray, while in south Ayrshire 12 passengers had to be airlifted from a bus stuck in flood water near to Dailly Cemetery.
More than 100 people evacuated from their homes in Ballater in Aberdeenshire are spending the night at Victoria Barracks which are usually used to house security personnel who guard the Queen when she stays at nearby Balmoral Castle.
In Northern Ireland, thousands of homes have experienced power cuts, air passengers were delayed and fallen trees caused problems on the roads.
In other developments:
- A man was arrested on suspicion of theft outside a flood-damaged home in West Yorkshire
- National Rail reopened some lines in Scotland following flooding on the Scottish railway network
- A landslip closed the A83 in Argyll while flooding closed the M74 in South Lanarkshire
- In Wales, more than 1,400 properties in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and a handful in Ceredigion lost power but most have since been reconnected
- The stormy weather caused three separate crashes on the M4 where there was standing water on both sides of the motorway between junctions 35 at Pencoed and 36 at Sarn
- Part of the Victorian Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare has collapsed into the Bristol Channel amid high winds
- In the Republic of Ireland, gales and torrential rain closed roads, hit rail services and cut power to 5,500 homes and businesses
- December, so far, has been a record-breaking month for rainfall, Met Office figures show. The heaviest fell in Capel Curig in Wales, which had 1,000mm (39 inches) of rain, well above its December average of 300mm (12 inches)
In Devon, a delivery driver smashed through the window of a car to save the lives of two elderly people trapped in rising floodwater in Sparkwell, Devon.
Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, soldiers evacuated homes near a bridge in Tadcaster after it collapsed on Tuesday evening, prompting fears of flooding and a possible gas explosion.
The town's 18th-century stone bridge over River Wharf collapsed on Tuesday, causing a nearby gas pipe to rupture.
Richard Sweeting, a member of the town council, said the community was finding it difficult to manage.
"The impact has been absolutely terrible because it's divided Tadcaster east and west. The bridge was the main thoroughfare to connect the whole town. The people in the west cannot get to the medical centre or to our supermarket," he said.
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In Croston, which was hit by floods on Boxing Day, an RAF Chinook helicopter delivered 400 tonnes of sandbags on Tuesday in a bid to shore up the nearby River Douglas in preparation for Wednesday's storm.
Meanwhile, police in York said it was "extremely disappointing" that thieves had broken into homes submerged in flood water. They said dry goods had reportedly been stolen from outside homes, tools taken from sheds and a back door forced open.
North Yorkshire Police's acting Supt Mark Grange said: "It is impossible to comprehend why anyone would want to bring further suffering to those who are already in a very vulnerable situation."
Environment Agency head Sir Philip Dilley returned to the UK after cutting short his family holiday in Barbados to visit some of the flood-hit communities.
He said he had been "in very close contact" with senior agency staff throughout his Christmas break.
"Everybody can't be everywhere at the same time," he said, when asked about his whereabouts during the floods.
"I think we've been very effective and efficient in what we've been doing. There's obviously some lessons to learn."
On Tuesday, Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced £50m extra funding to help households and businesses affected by flooding in northern England. The government says it has now pledged more than £100m.
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