Storm Dennis: No let-up as flood warnings continue

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Flood water continues to surround Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm DennisImage source, PA Media
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Flood water continues to surround areas such as Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire

Flood warnings remain in place across the UK after parts of north-west England experienced more than a month's worth of rain in the last 24 hours.

Two areas in Cumbria, Seathwaite and Honister Pass, recorded more rain than the county's February average of 112mm.

Nearly 100 flood warnings remain across the UK - six of them in England severe, meaning there is a danger to life.

The severe warnings are across the Midlands near the Welsh border around the Rivers Lugg, Severn and Wye.

'I could hear someone shouting'

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes due to floods, with the worst-affected areas including south Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Mark Smith, 51, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I could hear someone shouting for help. She was half in the car and half in the water."

In Wales, a blockage believed to have caused flooding in a village was found to have been caused by woodland cut down by Natural Resources Wales, a government-sponsored body.

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'I feel really upset': Pentre homes flooded twice in day

Image source, Geoff Handley
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Mark Smith waded into the water after being alerted by Geoff Handley
Image source, Getty Images
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Emergency services test the depth of flood water in Herefordshire as communities brace for further wet weather
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More rain for flood-hit areas - BBC Weather's Matt Taylor looks at the forecast

In Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, Chris Harrison said he had "lost everything" after his cafe was flooded twice in two days.

He said volunteers turned up at 06:00 GMT on Sunday to help sweep out the mud - only to see it flooded once again on Monday.

"I don't know what we will do until it dries, which could take weeks. I've got no money coming in and a mortgage to pay but I'm also worried about my staff," he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism from opposition parties for not visiting flood-hit communities.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was showing his "true colours by his absence", adding that the prime minister was sending a "clear message" by not convening the government's emergency committee, Cobra.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also questioned why Mr Johnson had not convened Cobra.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said his union had been raising the issue of long-term planning to deal with extreme weather events for years, but had found the government's response to be "lacklustre".

On Wednesday, business minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News the prime minister was focused on getting "money out the door" to businesses and local authorities in affected communities.

"He wants to help people by getting funding to them," Mr Zahawi said.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government was investing £2.6bn in flood defences.

There was heavy rain across northern and western parts of Britain overnight and during Thursday.

In Cumbria, in Honister Pass, 178mm of rain fell in 24 hours, while in Seathwaite 158mm of rain was recorded.

According to the Environment Agency, England has already received 141% of its average February rainfall so far this month.

River levels in the Colne, Ribble, Calder, Aire, Trent, Severn, Wye, Lugg, and Derwent all set new records in recent days, it added.

Earlier, floods led to disruption across parts of the rail network, affecting Avanti West Coast, Northern and TransPennine Express services and some routes in Wales.

Image source, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service
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A man was rescued after becoming trapped inside a car in a swollen river in Hampshire
Image source, Getty Images
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Hereford Fire and Rescue personnel check the depth of flood water as they go along a flooded road in the village of Hampton Bishop in Herefordshire
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A family in Monmouthshire, where river levels hit a record high, prepare a canoe on their driveway

Meanwhile, charity the RSPCA said animal rescue officers had been called out more than 200 times in the past 72 hours - including for "dramatic rescues" of 60 sheep, horses, a swan and chickens.

Actor Michael Sheen, from Neath Port Talbot, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help flooded communities in south Wales.

"The devastation that Storm Dennis has left behind is very real and thousands of people across the UK have lost everything," said Mr Sheen, 51.

What to do if you're at risk of flooding

The Environment Agency's flood warnings mean "immediate action" is required. But what should you do? Here's what the agency suggests:

  • Move family, pets and valuables to a safe place
  • Keep a flood kit ready, with copies of home insurance documents, a torch and spare batteries, a portable radio, baby care items, bottles of water and non-perishable foods, as well as warm, waterproof clothing and blankets
  • If it's safe to do so, turn off gas, electricity and water mains supplies - your supplier can advise you how to do this
  • Put flood protection equipment in place, such as flood boards or sandbags
  • Once you've taken steps to protect your family, check whether there are vulnerable neighbours or relatives who need help

For more information, check the BBC Weather website and your BBC Local Radio station for regular updates.

Cars sit submerged in flood water after the River Taff burst its banks in Nantgarw, south of Ponypridd in south Wales on February 16, 2020
What the warnings mean

  • Severe flood warningSevere flooding - danger to life

  • Flood warningFlooding is expected - immediate action required

  • Flood alertFlooding is possible - be prepared

Image source, BBC

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