‘Life-threatening’ Storm Dennis shut down roads and flooded railway lines on Sunday morning, with the Met Office issuing its highest level warning as it lashed the country with four inches of rain and fierce winds of up to 91mph.
At about 7am on Sunday there were 198 flood warnings in place, meaning immediate action is required, and 326 flood alerts telling people to be prepared, covering an area from Scotland’s River Tweed to the rivers of west Cornwall.
The situation was said to be particularly ‘life-threatening’ in South Wales, where the Met Office issued the red warning due to heavy rainfall and flooding risk. It is the first red warning issued for rain since 2015.
‘It’s quite an extreme move but we have seen widespread falls across the whole region,’ forecaster Greg Dewhurst said.
A search is also underway for a woman feared to have been swept to her death on Brighton seafront in huge Storm Dennis waves today.
She was seen in the water around 2.45am and despite hours of searching, there’s was no sign of her with rescuers fearing the worst.
Meanwhile, nearly 30,000 homes in towns and villages across Dorset were left without electricity and heating after torrential rain and howling gales from Storm Dennis knocked out power supplies, while residents were forced to evacuate their homes in parts of the Scottish Borders.
Storm Dennis is causing chaos all over the country, with huge waves generated off the coast of Brighton in the early hours of the morning. A woman is thought to have been swept to sea in Brighton
The River Taff at Pontypridd, South Wales, near Cardiff which has burst its banks and flooded peoples homes, with cars submerged
Flooding hits homes in Taffs Well, north of Cardiff in south Wales, as the River Taff, on the left, bursts it’s banks from the effects of Storm Dennis
A satellite image of Storm Dennis (left, top) moving across the North Atlantic, 15 February 2020. According to weather forecast, Storm Dennis will spread south and eastward across northern Europe bringing heavy rain and strong winds
Severe flood warning were issued for the Scottish Borders and for the River Neath in South Wales, while the River Taff burst its banks at Pontypool in Wales, leaving cars submerged in water and homes flooded.
In the 24 hours to 7am, Tredegar in south-eastern Wales received four inches of rain, while the fastest gust recorded in the same period was in Aberdaron where 91 mph was measured at 6pm on Saturday.
The Met Office has issued amber alerts – meaning people must be prepared to change plans and protect themselves and their family from the storm – for parts of Yorkshire, Wales, Devon, East Sussex and Kent.
Rail services were suspended across South Wales after tracks were submerged by rain, while the line between Derby and Long Eaton was also closed.
Flooding saw the M54 westbound closed at Telford, along with the A616 around Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire and the A52 between Stragglethorpe and Gamston in the East Midlands, Highways England said.
It comes as two people were killed by Storm Dennis yesterday, an 18-year-old man who got into difficulty in the sea off Kent and another who fell overboard from a fuel tanker near Margate Harbour.
Families jetting off on February half-term breaks were left stranded as the 1,200-mile wide ‘bomb cyclone’ battered Britain
Heavy waves deposit sand on the seafront in Aberystwyth in Wales, with Storm Dennis ravaging the country this weekend
Heavy waves batter the coast at Lepe Beach, Hampshire during Storm Dennis. Storm Dennis is set to bring major disruption to parts of the UK for a second day
Experts have warned that this weekend’s weather onslaught would cause further flooding. Troops have been deployed to help with flood preparations in parts of West Yorkshire and some people in the Scottish Borders have evacuated their homes where severe flood warnings are in place
Pontypridd war memorial park near Cardiff has been flooded after the River Taff burst its banks because of the deluge caused by Storm Dennis
In the 24 hours to 7am, Tredegar in south-eastern Wales received 105 mm of rain, while the fastest gust recorded in the same period was in Aberdaron where 91 mph was recorded at 6pm on Saturday.
Rail services were suspended across South Wales after tracks were submerged by rain, while the line between Derby and Long Eaton was also closed
Relief from Storm Dennis is still some distance away, the Met Office’s Mr Dewhurst said, adding that ‘heavy rain and strong winds’ would continue across large parts of the UK today.
‘South Wales will see a lot of rain fall before Dennis moves north later to Scotland and Northern Ireland.’
Earlier, the Ministry of Defence deployed British Army personnel to assist people in West Yorkshire areas badly hit by flooding during last weekend’s Storm Ciara.
Flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and easyJet confirming cancellations.
More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday were cancelled, while several sporting fixtures were also called off due to the weather.
Two bodies were pulled from rough seas on Saturday, before the worst of the storm hit.
One man was found following a huge search operation off Margate after an early-morning distress call, while another was found at Herne Bay.
Families jetting off on February half-term breaks were left stranded as the 1,200-mile wide ‘bomb cyclone’ battered Britain.
In dozens of towns still reeling from the devastation wrought by last week’s Storm Ciara, the Army was drafted in to bolster flood defences.
But experts warned this weekend’s onslaught would cause further flooding.
Virgin cancelled four long-distance flights from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Boston scheduled for yesterday and today.
Passengers were booked on to other services. Meanwhile, British Airways confirmed 40 short-haul flights to and from Heathrow last night and this evening had been cancelled, with routes to Amsterdam and Glasgow the worst affected.
Under European air passengers’ rights rules, airlines that cancel flights have a duty of care to provide replacement transport, as well as hotels and meals if necessary.
BBC journalist Christian Fraser and his wife Topaz were among the holidaymakers whose travel plans were ruined.
They were due to fly to Gran Canaria yesterday on a £3,500 easyJet package break, but were told the flights were cancelled and given no other information.
‘No one’s helped us and no one seems to know what’s going on,’ Mr Fraser told The Mail on Sunday.
‘We now don’t know whether to try to get to Gran Canaria through our own means. We tried to contact easyJet for help on Friday night but the call centres shut at 8pm.’
Storm Dennis has caused widespread travel disruption up and down the country as high winds and heavy rainfall sweep the nation. Waves are pictured crashing onto the seafront at Dawlish, in Devon, on Saturday
P&O Ferries confirmed they were ‘expecting delays to continue throughout the day due to technical issues and forecasted weather’. A ferry is seen sailing through stormy seas as it comes into Dover yesterday
Both the A14 Orwell Bridge in Suffolk and the M48 Severn Crossing eastbound between Monmouthshire and South Gloucestershire were shut due to strong winds while drivers were warned that other bridges and roads may be closed.
Network Rail has imposed a 50mph speed limit on trains that will lead to some cancellations.
Emergency crews and a rescue helicopter were yesterday scrambled to Herne Bay in Kent but were unable to save an 18-year-old man who got into difficulties.
Earlier, a coastguard helicopter, a Royal Navy warship and RNLI lifeboats launched a rescue operation after a man fell from the 325ft Maltese fuel tanker, B Gas Margrethe, off Margate at 5.40am.
A body was found after a seven-hour search in what the coastguard described as ‘very rough’ seas.
In Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, which was still recovering from the damage caused last week by Storm Ciara, 75 members of the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and another 70 reservists were deployed to help erect barriers and repair flood defences.
John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, said he was most concerned about Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
‘This storm could be a step up from what we have seen before,’ he added.
‘We had a big storm last weekend, [now we have] saturated catchments, snowmelt and rainfall, so it is the perfect storm.’
The Environment Agency, which issued 34 flood warnings and 246 alerts, said preparations were under way to operate defences, flood storage reservoirs and temporary barriers to protect communities.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: ‘We are fully focused on ensuring that communities are protected and have access to the support and advice they need to stay safe this weekend.’
The Met Office last night confirmed that Storm Dennis was a ‘bomb cyclone’, which means its air pressure has dropped by 24 millibars or more in 24 hours.
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 snowmelt 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. Our advice is to keep an eye on the latest forecasts and weather warnings and to follow the safety advice.’
Soldiers drafted in as village faces being swamped for the SECOND time in a week
By Jacinta Taylor for the Mail on Sunday
They were warned to brace themselves for another storm but it was still a sight that threatened to break hearts and undermine Yorkshire grit.
Residents in the close-knit village of Mytholmroyd woke yesterday to find soldiers on their streets, the clearest sign that the Calder Valley was due for another devastating flood.
Since 2012, the village has flooded three times – the last only a week ago when torrential rain from Storm Ciara caused the River Calder to swell to a record 16ft.
Some 500 homes and 400 businesses were flooded.
Many people whose homes back on to the river have either temporarily moved out or carried everything they own upstairs and out of harm’s way. Those who have chosen to stay have stocked up on food and bottled water. Soldiers are pictured placing sandbags along a river in Doncaster this week
Soldiers on the streets meant that once more, those homes and treasured possessions, potentially even lives, were under threat. Around 100 troops were helping to build temporary metal flood defences ready for Storm Dennis.
Last week’s muddy brown floodwater had overwhelmed the town, prompting anger that a £30 million flood defence scheme was taking too long to complete.
Resident Cynthia Stringer, 68, said: ‘They built the new wall about a foot lower than the old one – that’s never going to work, is it? The water just poured over the top.’
Many people whose homes back on to the river have either temporarily moved out or carried everything they own upstairs and out of harm’s way.
Those who have chosen to stay have stocked up on food and bottled water.
They certainly know the drill. First, there is a warning text message from the Environment Agency, followed by the flood sirens sounding in Mytholmroyd and other communities along the Calder Valley.
Resident Nick Ames, 51, said from his stone cottage: ‘There’s no point in crying about any of this – all you do is just add to the flood level. I think most people here have a ‘keep calm and carry on’ approach.’