UK – Hundreds of Homes Damaged After Storm Franklin Causes Rivers to Rise

Hundreds of homes have been flooded in England and Wales after heavy rainfall from Storm Franklin caused rivers to rise from 20 February 2022. Authorities say flood defences have protected more than 40,000 properties despite record river levels.

Floods in Shropshire, England, February 2022. Photo: Shropshire Council

The Environment Agency said the worst of the flooding in England was along the River Ouse in Yorkshire and the River Severn in the West Midlands, where a severe flood warning (highest) was issued for Ironbridge in Shropshire and Bewdley in Worcestershire. Some residents have evacuated their homes, while roads have been closed and rail services suspended.

The Buildwas measuring station showed the Severn reached 6.55 metres late on 22 February but has since fallen slightly. The record high here is 7.04 metres recorded in November 2000.

The River Severn at Bewdley stood at 5.33 metres as of 23 February and was expected to rise slightly later in the day. The record high is 5.56 metres, also recorded in November 2000.

Damage to homes and some evacuations were reported after rivers caused flooding in other areas of the country from 20 February, including the Mersey in Greater Manchester, the Derwent in Derbyshire, the Wharfe in North and West Yorkshire and the Don in South Yorkshire.

The River Mersey at Brinksway in Greater Manchester reached a record 4.4 metres on 20 February, beating the previous high of 3.97 metres set on 6 November 2000.

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said, “So far we have received reports of around 400 properties having flooded over the past few days. Our thoughts go out to all those affected – flooding can and does have a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“We have teams out on the ground taking preventative action, closing flood gates, deploying temporary barriers and moving pumps and other response equipment to areas of highest risk. Environment Agency defences have protected more than 40,000 properties despite record river levels.”

In Wales, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) reported high levels of the River Severn in Powys. Residents of Llandinam near Newtown evacuated their homes after flooding late on 20 February.

Franklin is the third named storm to hit the UK within a week, following Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice, which killed three people and left 1.4 million homes without power.

Franklin also cause some coastal and flash flooding in parts of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Two people drowned after their car was swept away by strong waves in Bricqueville-sur-Mer, northern France on 20 February 2022.