Flood warning as Storm Dennis set to dump a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours

Life-threatening Storm Dennis could dump a month's worth of rain in just 24 hours, triggering severe flood warnings up and down the country.

The Met Office has issued amber and yellow severe weather warnings for all of Britain before 'Dennis the Menace' brings up to 5ins (120mm) of rain and 80mph gales.

About 125 flood warnings and alerts had been issued as of Friday afternoon, with most of them in England, where the ground is already saturated after deadly Storm Ciara hit last weekend.

Forecasters have warned there is a "good chance" some communities will be cut off by flooded roads this weekend, and fast flowing or deep floodwater and massive coastal waves are likely to cause danger to life.


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Travel is likely to be disrupted, motorists will face dangerous driving conditions and homes could lose power.

Britain faces four days of severe weather warnings, with Storm Dennis' effects likely to linger until midday on Monday.

Some parts of the country still haven't recovered from deadly Storm Ciara, which caused severe flooding and brought gales of almost 100mph last weekend.

Amber warnings have been issued for the areas where the heaviest rain is expected on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the warnings covers much of Wales, and parts of the North West, North East and Devon and Cornwall in England.

The Met Office said: "Spells of heavy and prolonged rain are expected to affect parts of England and Wales over the weekend with a higher likelihood of impacts now expected in some areas.

"Around 20-40mm of rain will fall widely with 50-80mm likely across parts of northern and southern England.

"Over the higher ground of Wales 100-120mm of rain is possible in a few locations.

"This rain is expected to fall across areas already wet from recent rainfall."

Forecasters predict "very heavy rain" will strike areas around the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor in Devon.

On Sunday as much as 3ins (80mm) could fall in East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey.

A separate amber warning covers areas in southern Scotland, which could see as much as 1.6ins (40mm). However, snow melt will exacerbate the impacts.

Wind gusts will range between 50mph and 80mph across the country.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 14 flood warnings in England where flooding was expected and immediate action was required.

The locations were:

  • Barcombe Mills
  • English River Dee at Farndon
  • North Bank Road alongside the River Nene, east of Peterborough and west of Dog-in-a-Doublet Sluice
  • River Aire at Hirst Marsh and West Marsh
  • River Ouse at Naburn Lock
  • River Ouse at York – riverside properties
  • River Ouse at York – St George's Field and Queen's Staith
  • River Severn at Abbots Court, Deerhurst
  • River Severn at Apperley and The Leigh
  • River Severn at Chaceley and Haw Bridge
  • River Severn at Court Meadow, Kempsey and Callow End
  • River Severn at Hanley Road, Upton upon Severn
  • River Severn at Sandhurst and Maisemore
  • River Severn at Severn Ham, Tewkesbury

In Wales, a flood warning was issued for the Lower Dee Valley from Llangollen to Trevalyn Meadows.

There were more than 110 flood alerts elsewhere in the UK, including a dozen in Scotland.

The Environment Agency said preparations were under way to operate flood defences, flood storage reservoirs and to put up temporary barriers to protect communities.

This includes the Foss Barrier in York, the Thames Barrier in London and another in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on the River Severn.

Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Remember to never drive or walk through floodwater, just 11ins (30cm) of flowing water is enough to move your car – it's not worth the risk."

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Steve Willington said: “Storm Dennis will bring another very unsettled spell of weather this weekend with a risk of flooding, particularly in parts of England and Wales and also southern Scotland, where snow melt will add to the flood risk.

"Following Storm Ciara last weekend and further spells of rain this week, the ground is already saturated in places.

"With Storm Dennis bringing further heavy and persistent rain over the weekend, there is a risk of significant impacts from flooding, including damage to property and a danger to life from fast flowing floodwater.

"Our advice is to keep an eye on the latest weather forecast and weather warnings for your area and to follow the safety advice from officials.”

Britons have been urged to be careful around rough seas.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Water Safety Manager, said: "We’ve recently seen Storm Ciara sweep through and this is immediately being followed by Storm Dennis bringing dangerous weather to our coastlines. 

"We are still seeing people walking in exposed areas to see crashing waves, putting themselves at risk of being swept in.

"We urge anyone going out to think twice about the dangers around our coastline.

"Sadly, around 150 people accidentally lose their lives around UK and Irish waters each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. 

"Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents, especially with the risk of cold water shock for anybody finding themselves in the water unexpectedly." 

The arrival of Dennis comes just a week after Ciara battered parts of the country, bringing winds of just under 100mph.

Met Office meteorologist Matthew Box said the start of half term for some children this weekend means families should plan ahead or consider delaying their travels.

He warned rain could help topple sodden trees, affecting power lines, while winds as strong as 80mph could affect transport links such as ferries.

Laura Ellam, Deputy Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “It’ll be windy across the UK this weekend – on Saturday the strongest winds will be across England and Wales, and on Sunday the strongest winds will be across Northern Ireland, Scotland, and parts of northern England and north Wales, with coastal gales of 70mph at times.

"Monday will be another windy day, but the heavy rain will be replaced by blustery, wintry showers.”

The AA has urged the public to follow safety advice on the roads, with Ben Sheridan, AA patrol of the year, saying: "Take extra care when passing high-sided vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes, and watch out for sudden gusts, which can blow debris, trees and even damaged vehicles into your path."

Network Rail advised passengers to expect disruption on many routes due to flooding and allow more time for their journeys.

Tracks could be flooded as the ground near parts of the railway is already saturated, particularly in the North West.

Network Rail passenger director Jake Kelly said: "Storm Ciara dumped a month-and-a-half of rain on us last weekend, leaving ground waterlogged and rivers swollen.

"We had a lot of flooding in the North West and a lot of it disrupted the railway, for example at Todmorden and Caldew near Carlisle.

"With Storm Dennis set to bring more high winds and further rainfall this Saturday and Sunday, we're preparing for more of the same."

Households living near rail lines are being urged to secure any loose items in their gardens, after several trampolines were blown onto tracks and overhead electric wires last weekend, blocking lines.

Dennis threatens to disrupt sporting events a week after Ciara led to football matches being postponed.

Saturday's high-profile meeting at Ascot is one of several weekend fixtures in the balance because of the imminent arrival of the storm.

Dennis is the fourth named storm of the season, after Ciara, Brendan and Atiyah.

If needed, the next storm names to be used are Ellen, Francis and Gerda.

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