Storm Christoph: UK faces 'timeline of different hazards' with heavy flooding, gales and snow on way

Gareth Davies
·4-min read
A car attempts to drive through floodwaters in Hathern, Leicestershire - Darren Staples / Alamy Live News
A car attempts to drive through floodwaters in Hathern, Leicestershire - Darren Staples / Alamy Live News

The country faces a "timeline of different hazards" this week as Storm Christoph moves in, a Met Office spokesman has said.

Weather warnings for heavy rain are in force across the UK, but the unsettled conditions could also bring the risks of wind and snowfall as the storm engulfs the country through the middle of the week.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said that rain is "initially" the main concern but the picture will change as low pressure could introduce colder air.

He explained: "As we go through the week and the low pressure that is bringing these fronts of rainfall that are persistent and heavy over the next few days... as that low pressure moves east and out into the North Sea, the winds will become a thing really later in the week.

"Also as the low pressure moves away it pulls down a north-westerly airflow which brings much colder air across the UK again which then presents a further risk of snow."

Mr Claydon described the situation as "a timeline of different hazards as we go through the week but the first hazard is certainly of rain and that's reflected in the warnings at the moment".

A major incident has been declared in South Yorkshire. People are being urged to prepare as an amber weather warning for rain was issued by the Met Office for Tuesday to Thursday for central northern England, affecting an area around Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and stretching down to Peterborough.

It has led to a major incident being declared in South Yorkshire in preparation for potential flooding, said Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster.

In a tweet, Ms Jones said emergency protocols were instigated on Sunday, with sandbags handed out in flood-risk areas. She said plans would run alongside the region's Covid-19 response, adding: "I do not want people to panic, but flooding is possible so please be prepared."

The Environment Agency described the combination of torrential rain and melting snow as a "volatile situation", as councils prepare for possible evacuations should a severe flood warning be issued.

Catherine Wright, acting executive director for flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said: "That rain is falling on very wet ground and so we are very concerned that it's a very volatile situation and we are expecting significant flooding to occur on the back of that weather."

She said the Environment Agency will be working with local authorities to help with evacuation efforts should a severe flood warning be issued, adding: "If you do need to evacuate then that is allowed within the Covid rules the Government has."

Heavy rain is expected to hit the UK overnight on Tuesday, with the Met Office warning homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, causing damage to some buildings.

It issued a "danger to life" warning due to fast-flowing or deep floodwater, while there is a "good chance" some communities may be cut off by flooded roads.

After recent snow and rain the high water level in the River Ouse floods riverside paths in York - Anna Gowthorpe/Shutterstock
After recent snow and rain the high water level in the River Ouse floods riverside paths in York - Anna Gowthorpe/Shutterstock

Up to 70mm is expected to fall but in isolated spots, particularly in the northern Peak District and parts of the southern Pennines, 200mm could be possible.

A yellow rain alert is also in place for most of northern England and Wales from Tuesday to Wednesday, while a yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in force in Scotland from Dundee to Elgin and across the east coast from Wednesday afternoon until midday on Thursday.

The Environment Agency issued 10 flood warnings covering parts of Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire as of Monday night, with a further 109 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, across northern England, the Midlands and the east.

Highways England advised drivers to take extra care on motorways and major A roads, while the RAC breakdown service said motorists should only drive if absolutely necessary.

Power cuts hit homes

Hundreds of homes were blacked out this morning as Storm Christoph swept in to batter Britain.

Houses were plunged into darkness with no power for heating or lights as the storm took hold. Children couldn't do home schooling because there was no electricity or broadband for their laptops.

The same problem hit people working from home.

Engineers were battling to restore supplies to 90 homes which were without electricity in and around Solihull, and another 60 were blacked out in Leicester.

Power cuts also hit almost 100 homes in Nottingham and around 90 in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Today's weather forecast

Weather forecast 19/01/2020
Weather forecast 19/01/2020

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