250 flood warnings…now -10C ‘Nightmare’ to bring snow and ice misery

Weather: Met Office issues yellow flood warning amid heavy rain

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And the south east wake up to wintery scenes this morning as a weather warning for snow and ice has also been issued.

England and Wales have 251 flood warnings and alerts in place after days of torrential rain left many rivers bursting their banks.

Yesterday the Environment Agency had issued 89 flood warnings and 147 flood alerts in England mainly focussed on the Midlands and the south-west. Meanwhile Wales had one flood warning and 14 flood alerts.

Horrific scenes such as in Bewdley, Worcestershire, show flash flooding with rivers and of water pouring down the main high street as the market town’s flood defences became overwhelmed on one side of the River Severn.

But now the Met Office has slapped four days of multiple yellow “snow and ice” warnings in place until Wednesday across Scotland and England with the mercury is expected to plummet as low as -10C in the Scottish Highlands.

Meanwhile while the rainfall is expected to stop – a welcome relief to the thousands facing the looming fear of flooding – we will be facing far colder weather.

England can expect -8C (17.6F) nights as a second winter freeze is set to bring a days of shivering to the UK with an 800-mile “Nightmare from the North” as parts of the country could see their first snow.

BBC Weather forecaster Susan Powell said: “We’re swapping the wet, relatively mild weather for colder conditions which will bring the risk of frost and snow. While it is drier in the days ahead, there are still numerous flood warnings in place across the UK.”

Residents are urged to take care as there may be some icy patches on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths and some roads and railways are likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services.

The Met Office said: “A few centimetres of snow are likely at low levels over a given 24-hour period, with the potential for 10-15cm above 200 metres, especially across parts of the Highlands. Ice will be additional hazard, especially Tuesday night.

“Showers will fall increasingly as sleet and snow in the north, even to lower levels.

“Some showers further South and West, and perhaps a more persistent spell of rain overnight into Monday, could also turn to sleet and snow mainly over high ground such as the Brecon Beacons, Exmoor and Dartmoor.

“Overnight frost will become more widespread by Monday night, with overnight temperatures below 0C across much of the UK.

“Temperatures could get down to -10C in sheltered glens, or across high ground areas of Scotland where there is lying snow.”

The floods have submerged parts of York city centre, with the banks of the River Ouse bursting after intense rainfall on Saturday. Earlier, flood defences, including boarding, were deployed in York city centre.

City of York Council said it had taken the measure to keep the area “safe and open” as it urged visitors to plan their journeys in advance.

Several football matches have been cancelled across Devon and Cornwall because of severe weather conditions there.

The Environment Agency (EA) is asking people to “stay alert”, following flooding in the West Midlands with more than 35 flood warnings are in place across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

In Shropshire, the River Severn has peaked in Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Bridgnorth but the agency said it was already starting to see water levels rising again in the north of the county.

Roy Stokes, from the EA’s flood team in the West Midlands, said extra rain had “pushed the Wye back up again”.

He added: “We didn’t quite get as high as we did a couple of days ago, but nonetheless [it’s] still very worrying for people.

“The message is to stay alert, keep your eye on things, because everywhere is so wet and saturated now that any additional rainfall falling on those catchments, we’re likely to see those levels come back up again.”

In Bewdley, Worcestershire, the Severn peaked at 4.8m (16ft) overnight and temporary flood defences at Beales Corner protected the area, the agency said.

Local resident Gary Edwards said he had only been back in his home for about three months after previous flooding damaged his house, adding: “With a bit of luck, everyone’s all right. As long as my neighbours are ok, that’s all I’m worried about.”

Environment Agency worker Ian Withers said a “huge operation” is under way to control overflowing rivers in Somerset – an area particularly prone to flooding because it is below sea level.

Mr Withers said water levels in several rivers are currently “higher than the land around them” and surrounding moors are being used as “reservoirs” to contain the overspill.

The duty manager for the Wessex area said: “The situation at the moment is, catchments are just extremely wet and saturated.

“I think we’ve seen the worst of this wet weather pass through and we’ve got a few more settled days ahead which is really helpful.

“But as a consequence of all the rain we’ve had over the last week or so, the big rivers – the Severn, the Avon, the Wye – they’re so full with water, and that water has now got to work its way out of the estuaries into the sea.

“While they’re still high those pockets of flood risk will remain.”

Mr Withers said between 10 and 20 homes have been flooded in Wessex, and Environment Agency workers from Yorkshire have been drafted in to help prevent further damage.

He added that residents in some towns have invested in their own flood defences to ensure protection from encroaching water even if it reached their windows.

The Government spent £2.6 billion on flood resilience between 2015 and 2021, and it will spend double this funding over the next five years, he said.

Pensioner Jilly Jay, 65, who lives in the Somerset town of Taunton, said that the River Tone was “pouring over the bank in places” and the flooding in her area was “pretty bad”.

Meanwhile, Cardiff resident Pam French said water damage in the city was almost as bad as it had been in the February 2020 deluge.

She said that the city’s park run had been cancelled on Saturday due to the route being overrun with water.

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