UK and Ireland – Rivers Overflow After Heavy Rain From Storm Ciara

Heavy rain from Storm Ciara has triggered flooding in northern England, parts of Scotland and Ireland. Some rivers in northern England have reached record levels.

Meanwhile strong winds of up to 150km/h from Storm Ciara – known as Sabine in Germany and Switzerland and Elsa in Norway – has left thousands of homes without power, and caused hundreds of flights to be grounded and rail services cancelled in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

Flood rescue in Blackpool, Lancashire, Northern England, after heavy rain from Storm Ciara, 09 February 2020. Credit: South Shore Fire Station Lancashire

Northern England

In England, the Environment Agency said that “Storm Ciara brought high winds and heavy rain to much of England over the weekend, with some parts of Cumbria receiving nearly three quarters of February’s rain in just 24 hours, leading to rivers bursting their banks. There are currently around 550 properties believed to have been affected by flooding as a result of the severe weather. However, approximately 26,000 have been protected by flood defences across England.”

Initial figures suggest that areas of the Lake District recorded 179.8mm of rain in a 24 hour period. Levels of the Calder, Ribble and Irwell rivers jumped to highest or second highest on record.

At one point there were 263 flood warnings and 1 severe flood warning in place. This number has since fallen to 97 flood warnings and 204 flood alerts.

Properties were flooded in parts of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire. Flood rescues were carried out in Appleby in Cumbria and in the Ribble Valley and areas around Blackpool, Lancashire. Meanwhile the overflowing River Irwell prompted some evacuations in Greater Manchester, including Bury.

Impact of Storm Ciara in England. Image; Environment Agency


In Scotland, part of a building collapsed as a result of fast-flowing water of the Teviot River in Hawick. Areas of Dumfries were flooded after the River Nith burst its banks.


In Ireland, high waves combined with high tide caused some coastal flooding in areas around Dublin (in particular Sutton) on 09 February.

Heavy rainfall in parts of the country triggered minor flooding on roads, with some of the worst reported near Ballymote, County Sligo and near Inagh in County Clare.

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