UK – Floods Prompt Rescues and Evacuations in Wales and South West England

Heavy rainfall swept across parts of the United Kingdom over the weekend 18 to 20 December 2020, causing flash flooding in parts of Wales and South West England.

Floods in Saltash, Cornwall, England December 2020. Photo: Saltash Community Fire Station

Whitebarrow in Devon recorded 138mm of rain in 24 hours on 18 December, while Princetown in Devon recorded 111mm and Dartmoor 91 mm during the same period, according to the UK’s Met Office. In Wales, Llyn-y-Fan Blaenau in Carmarthenshire recorded 98mm and Tyn-Y-Waun, Glamorgan 82 mm on 18 December.

Roads were closed as a result of flooding in parts of Carmarthenshire. Media reported one person was rescued from a vehicle trapped in flood waters in near Usk in Monmouthshire, south east Wales.

Natural Resources Wales said on 19 December that the Ritec river at Tenby “remains at its highest recorded level due to a combination of yesterday’s heavy rainfall and high tides.” The flood threat prompted the nearby Kiln Park Caravan Park to close and all residents to leave the site.

In southwestern England, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service evacuated 18 people from a flooded caravan site in Notter Bridge in Saltash, Cornwall after the River Lynher broke its banks.

Environment Agency figures from the nearby river gauge at Pillaton show that levels of the river jumped from 0.85m on the evening of 17 December, to a record high of 2.44 metres in the early hours of 19 December, which is well above flood warning mark of 1.5m.

River levels are also high in parts of the West Midlands, where flood defences have been set up along rivers in Shrewsbury, Bewdley and Upton-upon-Severn, and flood pumps installed in Worcester.

Lynher River at Pillaton Cornwall December 2020. Image: Environment Agency

Update 21 December 2020:

Flood warnings are now in place for several rivers in northern England, including Yorkshire and Cumbria. In total, there are 11 Flood warnings and 57 Flood alerts across England as of 21 December.

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