Furious locals hit by extreme floods have slammed Boris Johnson after it was revealed he has no plans to visit areas worst affected by Storm Dennis as thousands were evacuated from their homes.
More than 550 flood warnings are still in place – including five with ‘danger to life’ – as Britain faces even more misery in the aftermath of the storm with weather forecasters predicting another two inches of rain within 24 hours in parts of Wales.
A woman today became the fifth victim of Storm Dennis when her body was found in a hunt by police after she went missing in raging floodwater.
Police said Yvonne Booth, 55, from Birmingham, was swept away after she got stuck in her car near a bridge which crosses the River Teme, near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, on Sunday.
Flood-hit families said the government was not doing enough to help and demanded answers from the Prime Minister after it was revealed he is currently staying at a country estate in Chevening, Sevenoaks, while Parliament is in recess.
There is no COBRA meeting scheduled, despite the new Environment Secretary George Eustice insisting ministers have a ‘firm grip’ on the situation.
Furious locals hit by extreme floods have slammed have vented their anger after Boris Johnson after it was revealed he had no plans to visit areas worst affected by Storm Dennis . Shirley Collyer, 83, is pictured as she is evacuated from her home in Hereford on Monday
More than 550 flood warnings are still in place – including five with ‘danger to life’. People bail water out of flooded homes after the River Wye burst its banks in Ross-on-Wye
Britain faces even more misery in the aftermath of Storm Dennis with weather forecasters predicting another two inches of rain within 24 hours in parts of Wales. RSPCA Cymru resvue sheep from a flooded field in St Asaph in Denbighshire
Before and after: The devastating impact of the floods is seen in shocking aerial pictures from the Powys village of Crickhowell after the River Usk burst its banks
Houses in Powys village of Crickhowell were submerged in water after the River Usk burst its banks. A major incident was declared in Wales after a terrifying landslide in Tylorstown, Rhondda Cynon Taf yesterday.
York and the Cambridgeshire market town of St Ives are also nearly entirely flooded from the River Ouse. The River Wye is the highest it has ever been, causing more havoc in Herefordshire.
Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary, said it was a ‘disgrace’ that Mr Johnson had ‘refused’ to visit affected communities.
Families in south Wales – an area particularly badly affected by the huge amounts of rain fall – said politicians needed to up their efforts.
Museum worker Robin Williams, 62, from Pontypridd said: ‘Where’s Boris? Where’s the help?’
Robin and wife Tracey 55, had moved into their home just one year ago and claims they have not received any help with their flooded property.
Tracey, who works in a care home, said: ‘We haven’t long been here and a lot of our stuff was new. I asked the council for sandbags but they said you have to wait until the water is coming in, which it was.
‘We haven’t had any help and nobody has been here from the council. They are out of their depth.
‘It was a freak flood and there was nothing put in place to stop it.’
Tracey Waites, 49, also of Pontypridd, added: ‘We haven’t seen anyone. There are no politicians down here helping. Where are they?
Shocking drone pictures show the devastating scale of flooding the Welsh village of Crickhowell after the Usk flooded
The River Ouse burst its banks over the weekend leaving the Cambridgeshire market town of St Ives underwater
Winds and rain are set to die down this week, however floods are expected over the next couple of days, the Environmental Agency warned
‘We haven’t seen anyone from the government or anyone from the council. We’ve heard nothing from anyone.’
Tracey Waits, and husband Marc, 52, described how they were desperately trying to get their belongings upstairs when the flood hit.
Marc said: ‘Luckily our daughter was awake when it started happening and she alerted us.
‘We’ve just been trying to sort out our insurance as we couldn’t get hold of anyone on the weekend.
‘We were watching a car bobbing around in the water outside and thought it might come through our front wall. Our car has been towed away as it was caught up in all the water.’
Tracey said: ‘When the water was coming in we started passing our belongings to each other up the stairs.
‘We managed to save my daughter’s school coursework and some photos because they can’t be replaced. It’s so awful and I can’t believe it’s happened.’
Colin, 78, went outside to try and poke through the drain but flood water was bursting up through it.
He said: ‘The water was coming up the path so I tried to poke the drain to clear it.
‘I realised the water was coming up through the drain and then it all came in through the front and back of our house.’
Speaking through tears, he added: ‘We saved very little in fact. It’s going to take a long time to get this sorted out.
Neighbours who had not been affected on Berw Road in Pontypridd were out offering to do laundry and make cups of tea.
In the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, local authorities have called for their region to be given the same extra funding as London does to tackle terrorism so they have the best chance of limiting flood damage.
Roy James, a cafe owner in Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, told Sky News: ‘We are a little frustrated because we think surely the government have had 13 years to talk about this which you would imagine would be plenty but seemingly not.
‘So we are hoping that this time Mr Johnson and his crew will come and do something, do something for us, help us.’
A fifth person is feared dead amid the bad weather after West Mercia Police announced the operation to the woman in Tenbury, Worcestershire, is now a ‘recovery not a rescue’ in light of the ‘circumstances of the length of time in the water’.
There are currently 462 Environment Agency flood warnings in place, including six ‘danger to life’ ones, with two inches of rain still expected to fall later this week.
Aerial images show the extent of flooding in Hereford, Herefordshire, on Monday after the nearby river burst its banks over the weekend
A baby is pictured being rescued from flooded homes in Hereford today after water levels at the Old Wye Bridge reached dangerous heights
Rescue boats are seen helping residents whose homes were flooded in Hereford, Herefordshire, this morning
Shirley Collyer, 83, is pictured in good spirits as she is evacuated from her home in Hereford on Monday after mass flooding
Eighty-three-year-old Mrs Collyer had to be stretchered to safety on a dinghy after her home in Hereford flooded
It was so flooded in a park in Hereford this morning that these two men had to canoe their way through the floodwater
One man is pictured leaning out of his window to speak to Sky News reporter after being confined to the top floor of his house in Hereford due to devastating floods
A Met Office weather warning has also been issued for ice and snow over the Grampians in Scotland, which will be in place between 6pm tonight and 11pm on Tuesday.
Yellow warnings for wind and rain are also in place for north and south Wales on Wednesday and Thursday.
Blustery showers are set to continue throughout Monday and Tuesday, with western areas of England, Scotland and Wales the worst impacted. In the Scottish Highlands there will be snow in higher areas, as well as hail and spells of thunder.
Rain and increasingly strong winds will move in from the west on Wednesday morning spreading across the whole of the UK.
Rain will be persistent and heavy at times in Wales and north western England overnight and a further front will move through on Thursday bringing heavy downpours.
Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: ‘Further rain will arrive on Wednesday evening and this is likely to become prolonged and possibly heavy over areas of high ground. For example, there is a chance that 60mm of rain could fall in parts of south Wales over 24 hours.
‘With the ground already saturated there is a chance of further flooding, members of the public should check their flood risk and stay up to date with flood warnings from Natural Resources Wales, SEPA, NI Direct and the Environment Agency.’
Fear of a fifth Storm Dennis death comes after West Mercia Police said they are now treating the operation to rescue a woman swept away by floodwater in Tenbury, Worcestershire, as a ‘recovery’ one due to ‘the circumstances of the length of time in the water and other conditions.’
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said it had pulled one man from the River Teme at Eastham Bridge on Sunday morning, with a female casualty still unaccounted for as of about 4pm.
A man in his 60s died on Sunday after being pulled from the River Tawe near Trebanos Rugby Club in Wales, but Dyfed-Powys Police said his death was not being linked to the bad weather.
A 42-year-old hill walker was found dead after he went hiking in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday.
Police were scrambled to Stob Ban, a 3,278ft munro located on the south side of Glen Nevis, northwest of Kinlochleven, Highlands at around 1pm on Sunday, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
One fed-up resident in York put a ‘Do one Dennis’ sign to block the water from entering his home in the city
The River Ouse is pictured at record-breaking levels in York, where flood defences are struggling under the pressure
Water is pictured being pumped away from York city centre after the River Ouse burst its banks and caused chaos
A terraced house is pictured with sandbags at the front door in York after being inundated with flood water
The bodies of two men were pulled from rough seas off Kent on Saturday as the UK was struck by a storm for the second weekend in a row.
There are fears for a man called Leon Ford, 32, from Guildford, Surrey, who has not been seen since around 2am on Saturday.
Police are also looking for a woman, 36, who disappeared from a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and is believed to have run into the sea in Brighton.
Storm Dennis was described as ‘life-threatening’ in South Wales, where the Met Office had a red warning in place until 11am today.
Forecasters said that winds of more than 80mph were recorded across parts of the country, with the highest measuring 91mph in Aberdaron in north Wales on Saturday.
A total of 156.2mm of rain fell at Crai Reservoir in Powys in the 48 hours from Friday to Sunday morning, it added. The average monthly rainfall for February in Wales is 111.1mm, the Met Office added.
Severe flood warnings have been issued for the rivers Neath and Taff, as well as the River Teme further north.
People empty out buckets of water from the front of a flooded property after the River Wye burst its banks in Ross-on-Wye
The Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, is pictured inaccessible after being inundated by floods during Storm Dennis
Sheep had to be rescued in Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, south west Wales, after flooded fields left them confined to a tiny patch of grass
Traffic passes over Teston Bridge on Monday as flood waters rise near Yalding in Kent in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
Two young women skirt floodwater from the River Wey by holding onto railings in central Guildford, Surrey on Monday
A woman brushes water away from the Mary Stone Properties shopfront, which has been damaged by flood water, in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, on Monday
Pictures on social media show the Taff bursting its banks and flooding parts of Pontypridd, while rescue workers were using boats to get families to safety after further flooding in nearby Nantgarw.
Gwent Police said that residents of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, were being advised to evacuate due to the flooding.
Flocks of sheep, horses and pets also had to be rescued after falling victim to Storm Dennis in parts of Wales.
Specialist emergency teams from the RSPCA saved sheep and horses in Carmarthenshire, with more than 40 sheep plucked to safety from Newcastle Emlyn.
In nearby Llandeilo only one sheep from a flock of 25 was rescued alive from a flooded field.
A water rescue team also went to the aid of 22 sheep trapped by the floodwater in a field in St Asaph, Denbighshire.
Officers checked the condition of the ewes – all heavily in lamb – and made the decision not to attempt a rescue.
Inspector Anthony Joynes said: ‘We took hay out to the 20 sheep and fed them in situ. As the sheep were all heavily in lamb and it would have been such a treacherous move to get them out of the flooding we decided to leave them where they were.
‘As the flood water has begun receding and the farmer was on hand to monitor them, we felt they would be safer left in situ. Had we have started trying to rescue them they would have spooked and likely fled into the water where they may well have drowned.
‘We’ll return tomorrow to check on the sheep again.’
Rescue operations were also launched in Hereford today, where hundreds of homes have been evacuated.
Churches and leisure centres have opened their doors to take in evacuated residents as a severe flood warning remains in place for the River Wye.
People are seen walking on the Old Bridge in Hereford, as the waters of the swollen River Wye fill the arches below
An EU flag in a garden in Hereford is pictured almost completely underwater after the River Wye reached record-breaking levels on Monday
A rescue worker helps a resident to safety on a boat following Storm Dennis in Hereford on Monday
Hereford was also blighted by floods on Monday morning after river levels rose dangerously high at Old Wye Bridge
A playground in the cathedral city of Hereford is half hidden by overwhelming levels of rainwater on Monday
Two women were forced to escape their home through a window in Hereford today after the River Wye flooded
Cars are pictured stranded in the middle of Hereford after water levels rose amid Storm Dennis
A camera crew wade through the flooded waters after the River Wye burst its banks in Hereford
John Curtin, the EA’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, tweeted that, despite the heaviest rain passing, there is still ‘a live incident as water makes its way through the bigger rivers’, with Hereford being ‘of most concern’.
David Throup, EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, tweeted that the River Wye was recorded as its highest ever level.
He said floodwater was slowly receding at Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, describing a ‘horrible sight with many flooded homes and businesses’.
In one area of the city, roads were reported to have been submerged in 6ft of floodwater, local resident Laura Yarwood said.
Flooded fields are pictured near Marden, Herefordshire, on Monday in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
Aerial images show Hereford overwhelmed with floods after the River Wye reached its highest level in history
Pictures show the devastating effect of flooding in Lower Bullingham, Hereford, on Monday
Flooded fields encroach on homes in Hereford, Herefordshire, which is one of the areas worst-hit by Storm Dennis
The 32-year-old nursery owner evacuated her home in nearby Bodenham on Saturday in the face of flood warnings, and said the village has since been ‘completely cut off’.
‘I think most of the villages in Hereford have been cut off and I think there’ve been quite a few evacuations. It’s just crazy.
‘It’s the worst anyone in Hereford has ever seen it to be, and the fact that communities are being evacuated, that’s unheard of.’
Ms Yarwood closed her nursery in Thorn Business Park on Monday morning, after water began to affect the entrance to the industrial estate.
Aerial pictures showed extensive flooding around the park, the railway line and nearby homes.
Rescue workers are pictured on the beach in Brighton after a 36-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub on Sunday
Police are also looking for a woman, 36, who disappeared from a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and is believed to have run into the sea in Brighton
A coach is seen submerged in floodwater from the River Teme on the A443 near Lindridge, Worcestershire, on Monday
Shown today, a car washed-away during flooding in Nantgarw, south Wales, where residents are returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
The garden of Virginia Davis in south Wales, which was destroyed during floods caused by Storm Dennis over the weekend
Britain is facing another day of widespread flooding and travel chaos as Storm Dennis continues to batter the country with gale-force winds and heavy rain (shown right is wind warnings issued by the Met Office today)
A weather warning is in place for the Grampians in Scotland on Tuesday (left), with two others on Wednesday and Thursday for north and south Wales for rain and wind
Meanwhile, local businesses in South Wales are collecting donations for people who have lost everything and more than a dozen online fundraising appeals have been launched – raising nearly £30,000 in less than 24 hours.
Taff’s Well rugby club opened its doors to offer hot showers, food and drink but since then has become a collection point for essential items, such as toiletries and bedding.
A local building firm was also dropping off a large amount of sand for residents needing sandbags in Treorchy and Pentre.
Residents brought shovels and brushes to help clear away flood water and mud from one street in Treorchy.
Special walkways have been erected in York as the city braces itself for even more rain after the River Ouse burst its banks
A car is seen stranded amid floodwater several feet deep in York after the River Ouse bursts its banks during the storm
York city centre is pictured under water after the River Ouse burst its banks over the weekend, despite flood defences being in place
Another vehicle is pictured abandoned in flood water in York where defences are in place to prevent further storm damage
A schoolgirl was in her bedroom in Hanham, Bristol, when a tree came crashing through her window during Storm Dennis yesterday, she was treated for minor injuries and four people were evacuated from the block
Firefighters and the ambulance service were scrambled to a block of flats in Hanham, Bristol, when a tree was uprooted by gale-force winds and it smashed through a window
Army personnel were deployed over the weekend to assist people in parts of West Yorkshire which had already been badly hit by flooding during Storm Ciara.
The Environment Agency said water levels on the River Ouse in York are set to peak on Tuesday afternoon, but at levels below those seen during the widespread flooding in the city in 2015 and 2000.
A spokesman said: ‘Our forecasts are currently showing the River Ouse in York will reach 4.8m on the morning of Tuesday February 18 and is likely to remain at or around this level for a couple of days afterwards.
‘At this level, we expect there may be further properties flooded in York.’
Many homes flooded in 2015 when the Foss Barrier – which stops floodwater from the River Ouse washing up the smaller River Foss – had to be left open when the mechanism was inundated.
The barrier, which has been closed for Storm Dennis, has been upgraded over the last five years.
City of York Council leader Keith Aspden said: ‘We’ve deployed over 4,000 sandbags across the city and over 200 one-tonne sandbags to help the residents in the most at-risk locations.
‘York is very much open for business and as we move into half-term week, we’re encouraging everyone to visit our fantastic city, which always has much to offer.’
The Ouse bursting its banks has also left the market town of St Ives in Cambridgeshire blighted by flood water.
Commuters were warned of mass disruption, with delays expected on roads, railways and ferries, while flights are also likely to suffer from last-minute cancellations.
Roads and railways were flooded on Sunday after torrential downpours and high winds caused by the second storm in just over a week.
A young man empties a bucket of water from a shop in Crickhowell, Wales, which was almost completely underwater after Storm Dennis battered Powys
The clear up after the storm: A fireman adjusts a hose in front of a house with a visible mark on its wall of where the flood level reached while Storm Dennis raged in Crickhowell, south Wales
Pictures show the chaos inside The Bridge End Inn in Crickhowell, Wales, after floodwater savaged homes and businesses
Pub owner Howard Baker stands outside his flood-hit pub, the Bridge End Inn in Crickhowell, Powys, Wales, one of the worst -hit areas in the UK
Nantgarw resident Rachel Cox is pictured in her kitchen, where she was forced to move everything after the floods hit
The Village Kitchen Baguette and Sandwich Shop in Nantgarw, South Wales, is pictured with staff outside trying to salvage furniture almost ruined by the floods
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (centre) and Member of the Welsh Assembly for Pontypridd, Mick Antoniw (right), with resident Caroline Jones inspecting flood damage at her house in Oxford Street, Nantgarw, in south Wales
Janette Cox, 68, holding up her wedding photo from 1971 of her late husband Bill, who died nine years ago. She saved it after her other possessions were ruins when floods hit her home in Nantgarw, South Wales
Staff members cleaning outside the Celtic Flooring store, which has been damaged by floodwater in Nantgarw, South Wales
Lee Griffiths throwing out laminate flooring after flooding damaged his house in Nantgarw, South Wales
Storm Dennis caused a third day of chaos across Britain’s transport network.
More than 90 flights at Heathrow were cancelled on Monday due to the knock-on effect of what the airport described as a ‘technical issue’.
This came after hundreds of flights were cancelled at airports across the UK due to the bad weather on Saturday and Sunday.
Motorists continued to face treacherous driving conditions on Monday, with roads flooded around the country.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis warned that the impact of Storm Dennis ‘will be felt by drivers for some time yet’.
He said: ‘Aside from the current road closures, with so many flood warnings still in force, there is a very real risk more roads will be affected by flooding over the next few days.
‘It’s vital drivers take no risks – if they can’t be sure the water is shallow enough to safely drive through, turning around and finding another route is always the best option.’
The AA was called out to rescue more than 400 vehicles stuck in water or mud over the weekend, which was more than double the total when Storm Ciara hit one week earlier. Flooding and fallen trees caused chaos to train services on Monday.
CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Northern, South Western Railway, Southern, Thameslink and Transport for Wales were among the operators with delays and cancellations.
Trains from Swindon towards Bristol Parkway were unable to run. No services could operate through Mitcham Junction in south London as the electric third rail was switched off due to flooding.
Rotherham Central station was closed until at least Tuesday due to flooding.
A fault with the signalling system in the Welwyn Garden City area also caused major disruption between Stevenage and London King’s Cross.
A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘Just as with Storm Ciara last weekend, Storm Dennis has had a significant impact on the railway.
‘The heavy rainfall, combined with already waterlogged ground conditions, has led to flooding in a number of areas across the network.
‘Our engineers have been working in extremely difficult conditions throughout Sunday and overnight to clear the tracks and keep passengers moving.
‘The majority of services are now running as scheduled, but we do still urge anyone travelling over the next couple of days to check before they travel at www.nationalrailenquiries.co.uk.’
Nearly one in five British Airways flights due to arrive at Heathrow on Monday were cancelled as the airline recovered from the airport’s systems failure which led to long queues and handwritten flight information being displayed on whiteboards on Sunday.
At least 61 arrivals and 33 departures were grounded on Monday. British Airways is the largest airline at Heathrow.
More than 100 flights by several airlines were cancelled at the airport on Sunday, due to a combination of the technical glitch and Storm Dennis.
A British Airways spokeswoman said: ‘The technical issue with Heathrow Airport’s systems has now been resolved but, after 10 hours of disruption across all terminals, we do expect to see a knock-on effect to today’s short-haul schedule.
‘We’ve introduced a flexible booking policy and have brought in extra colleagues to help our customers get on their way as smoothly as possible.’
A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘Following yesterday’s technical issue, Heathrow’s systems are stable and the airport is operating as normal. We apologise for the inconvenience this caused our passengers.’
The water-damaged interior of a Mini car in Nantgarw, in south Wales. there are 54 flood warnings in Wales today, as police declared a major incident
Nantgarw, in south Wales, where residents are returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
‘Aside from the current road closures, with so many flood warnings still in force there is a very real risk more roads will be affected by flooding over the next few days.
‘It’s vital drivers take no risks – if they can’t be sure the water is shallow enough to safely drive through, turning around and finding another route is always the best option.’
Experts have warned that climate change is driving more heavy rainfall in winter storms and increasing the risk of flooding for which the UK is ‘clearly’ not ready.
Research has shown that the conditions in a previous winter storm, Desmond in 2015, which brought very heavy rain to parts of the UK and caused widespread flooding, were made 40 per cent more likely due to climate change.
In the wake of the latest storms, Dr Michael Byrne, lecturer in climate science at the University of St Andrews and research fellow at the University of Oxford, said more water in the atmosphere is ‘an entirely inevitable consequence of climate change’.
‘When you warm the planet, the atmosphere holds more water. In many parts of the world, including the UK, rising temperatures go hand in hand with more rain,’ he said.
He said the jury is still out on whether climate change will strengthen or weaken the high winds in storms such as Ciara and Dennis, but ‘when the storms come there will be more rain associated with them’.
‘These storms are nothing new, going back 100 years, but, because we are now more than 1C warmer as a whole versus pre-industrial times, every degree means 7 per cent more water in the atmosphere and more rain in these heavy rain events.
‘When they come, they bring more rain, 100 per cent for certain, because of climate change.’
RAF veteran Gordon Churchill, 96, managed to save his Second World War medals before being rescued from his flood-hit home in Nantgarw, South Wales, after it was savaged by Storm Dennis
If temperatures rise by 3C, which is what efforts to cut emissions already outlined by countries currently put the world on track for, storms could be bringing around 20 per cent more rain than they would without climate change.
‘It would put a huge strain on flood defences if that were to happen,’ said Dr Byrne.
Hannah Cloke, professor of hydrology at the University of Reading, said: ‘These types of events are most likely a taster of what is to come and we should be paying very close attention to that.’
And she warned: ‘Clearly, we are not ready for them. We’ve always seen these big floods but we do keep seeing these records being broken, it’s very concerning.’
She said more people are living in areas at risk, and there is a need to think about how the landscape is managed.
It is not just down to more hard flood defences, she said, urging: ‘We should be using the whole toolkit of things to prepare for floods.’
They include looking after soil so it can soak up water and does not run off the land to block watercourses, using uplands to catch water, diverting it on to fields upstream of settlements, and putting in ‘leaky dams’ made of wood in streams to slow the water’s flow down to the towns.
She also warned against building on flood plains, and said that, where it is absolutely necessary, better, joined-up planning is needed to protect homes from floods.