UK – Evacuations After Storm Dennis Triggers Major Flooding in England and Wales

Heavy rain brought by Storm Dennis has caused flooding across the United Kingdom, with rivers reaching record levels in England and Wales.

Storm Dennis is the second severe storm to hit the country in the last few days. Ground was already saturated by heavy rainfall from Storm Ciara, which caused severe flooding in northern England on 09 February.

Flooding in Worcester, England, after Storm Dennis, February 2020. Photo: West Mercia Police

Winds from Storm Dennis reached over 140 km/h on 15 February. Flights were cancelled and public transport disrupted. Rough seas claimed the lives of 2 people on England’s South East Coast on the same day.

The UK’s Met Office said that Crai Reservoir in Powys, South Wales, recorded 157.6 mm of rain in 48 hours to 16 February, which is the equivalent of a month’s worth of rain. John Curtin, Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency said via Social Media the that rainfall levels from Storm Dennis were high but not exceptional and the current flooding is also a result of saturated ground conditions left by Storm Ciara.

Rivers in Wales and England’s West Midlands broke their banks, prompting evacuations and leaving some communities cut off. Army personnel and Red Cross have been assisting in affected areas, along with police, fire and emergency services, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

A record high number of flood warnings or alerts have been issued for England. As of 17 February, there were 5 severe flood warnings, 282 warnings and 347 alerts. The severe flood warnings were all for areas in the West Midlands.


Areas of South Wales saw some of the worst of the flooding over the weekend 15 to 16 February.

South Wales Police said “Hundreds of houses have been checked and searched by fire and rescue officers, and hundreds of people have been rescued from their homes.

“They have been looked after at one of seven rescue centres which have been set up by local authorities across Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil.

“The most severe impact was upon Rhondda Cynon Taff, and more specifically the Taff valley, which experienced multiple floods and landslides.”

Two severe flood warnings were issued: one for the River Taff at Pontypridd and the River Neath at Aberdulais.

The River Taff burst its banks in areas around Pontypridd, flooding streets, damaging homes and submerging cars. The Taff reached record highs of 5.324 metres at Upper Boat Bridge on 16 February.

One person died after falling into the overflowing Tawe River in Ystradgynlais in Powys.

Parts of Crickhowell were flooded after the river Ursk reached 4.508 metres on 16 February. Residents of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, were advised to evacuate due to the flooding.


Flooding has also affected parts of western England, with the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire declaring a “major incident”. Roads have been closed and some areas evacuated.

Worcestershire County Council said: “Areas of Worcestershire continue to experience flooding with many roads closed across the county. Although in some areas river levels are dropping, they are set to rise again over the next few hours, peaking during the evening.”

One woman is missing after being swept away by the River Teme near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire on 16 February. Around 130 properties have been flooded in the town, prompting at least 20 people to evacuate. Levels of the Teme reached 5.9 metres on 16 February, well above flood stage of 4.55m.

In Herefordshire, the River Wye reached a record level of 6.09 metres at Hereford Old Bridge on 17 February. Residents in the Blackmarstone have been told to evacuate.

In Shropshire, around 30 properties have been flooding in Ludlow, where the River Teme reached close to record levels of 5.2 metres on 16 February. Minor flood stage here is 3 metres.

Floods in Tenbury after rain from Storm Dennis, February 2020. Photo: Malvern Hills District Council

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