UK Floods – Flooding in Cumbria and Yorkshire After Weekend of Heavy Rain

Parts of Britain and Ireland experienced heavy rain over the weekend of 14 to 15 November 2015. In England and Wales, the Environment Agency’s flood defences were called into action, including pumps in Carlisle and installing flood barriers in Frankwell in Shrewsbury. Over 600 metres of temporary flood defences were deployed by the Environment Agency and 20 military personnel to protect homes at Braystones, Whalley, Warwick Bridge and Ribchester.

The Environment Agency (EA) said that the “latest figures show that that Environment Agency flood schemes protected over 20,000 homes over the weekend.”

Kent and Ehen Rivers in Cumbria

Severe flood warnings, meaning a potential danger to life, were issued late on Saturday 14 November 2015 by the Environment Agency for Kendal and Egremont in Cumbria, northern England. With levels of the River Kent and River Ehen rising rapidly, around 1,600 homes were thought to be at risk from flooding.

ITV news said that “more than a thousand homes are being evacuated as hurricane Kate begins to batter our (border) region. 1,000 homes are being evacuated in Kendal and hundreds more in Egremont”.

Roads and trains were affected in Cumbria, as well as some areas of farmland. However, river levels didn’t reach the heights initially feared and weren’t high enough to significantly breach banks and defences in Kendal and Egremont.

River Kent in Cumbria, England, November 2015. Photo: Environment Agency
River Kent in Cumbria, England, November 2015. Photo: Environment Agency

River Wharfe in Yorkshire

In Yorkshire, the River Wharfe burst its banks in several places, causing some minor flooding in Ilkley, Otley and Pool. The Environment Agency warned that levels of the River Wharfe still threaten to overflow in Tadcaster in North Yorkshire.

“The Flood Warning for the River Wharfe at Tadcaster remains in force due to river levels responding to recent heavy rainfall. Levels in the upper reaches of the River Wharfe have peaked and are now falling. Levels remain high on the lower River Wharfe. The current level at Tadcaster is 3.4m and is expected to peak shortly. Our Incident Response teams are on 24 hour duty. We will continue to monitor the situation and update this message accordingly.”

Wales and Ireland

In Wales, train services were disrupted in mid and north Wales due to flooding and poor weather conditions. Some flooding was also reported in counties Tyrone and Derry in Northern Ireland, and in Sligo and Donegal north west Ireland, blocking some roads. There have been no reports of houses being flooded or residents being evacuated. Further south, local media in Ireland say that there were reports of minor flooding in Cork.

Further Flood Warnings

As of Monday, 16 November 2015, there are still 29 active Flood Warnings and 52 Flood Alerts for parts of England and Wales.

To check current flood warnings and river levels in England and Wales, see the government website here, or call the 24-hour service Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Craig Woolhouse, Director of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said:

“The flood risk will recede across northern England over the coming days, although river levels will remain high”.

“The public should remain alert to the risk of flooding and stay away from raging rivers. With so much standing water around, we ask people to stay out of flood water and not attempt to walk or drive through it”.

The EA will continue to clear blockages from watercourses, check flood defences and monitor river levels.

There could be a risk of coastal flooding in southern parts of England tomorrow, 17 November 2015, as gale or severe gale force westerly winds are expected to generate large waves around exposed coasts in south-west England and the English Channel. Some localised spray and wave overtopping of sea walls is possible but overall the coastal flood risk is very low.

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