November flooding in Yorkshire was ‘once-in-60-years' weather event

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
A general view of flooded homes in the village of Fishlake, South Yorkshire, England, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received a frosty reception in flood-hit areas of northern England after victims of torrential rains lashed out at his slow response in coming to survey the damage.(Richard McCarthy/PA via AP)
A general view of flooded homes in the village of Fishlake, South Yorkshire (AP)

Floods that brought parts of Yorkshire to a standstill earlier this month were a “once-in-60-years” weather event, experts have said.

The deluge, which resulted in the death of at least one person, was described by residents in the worst-hit areas as “almost biblical” and resulted in a slew of Environment Agency flood warnings.

Homes were evacuated and the government was forced to call a Cobra emergency meeting to deal with the crisis.

Researchers with the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology (CEH) said the 3.1in (77.8mm) of rainfall during a 24-hour period over November 7-8 in Doncaster, one of the places badly affected by the flooding, was likely to happen only once every 60 years.

Experts found that the River Don, which burst its banks, set a new peak flow record.

A general view of flooded homes in the village of Fishlake, South Yorkshire, England, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received a frosty reception in flood-hit areas of northern England after victims of torrential rains lashed out at his slow response in coming to survey the damage.(Richard McCarthy/PA via AP)
Homes were evacuated and the government was forced to call a Cobra emergency meeting to deal with the crisis (AP)
A car submerged in water outside a property as parts of England endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours, in Fishlake, Yorkshire, England, Monday Nov. 11, 2019. Some scores of people have been forced to evacuate their homes, as flood waters have inundated the region. ( Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
The deluge was described by residents in the worst-hit parts of Yorkshire as 'almost biblical' (AP)

Elsewhere, flooding around the River Derwent exceeded notable weather events in the last 20 years, the CEH said.

Annie Hall, the former high sheriff of Derbyshire, died after she was swept away by the river in Darley Dale, near Matlock.

Nick Reynard, CEH science area head for hydro-climate risks, said: “The amount of rainfall, and precisely where it falls, the land surface and how saturated it is, and the existing flood management schemes are just some of the factors that make the precise nature of each flood hard to predict in detail.

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“Land management can play a role in helping to prevent or control flooding, such as the use of floodplains or retention ponds or selected small-scale measures to reduce runoff rates.

“However, man-made flood defences are still required along with these more ‘natural’ schemes as a basket of flood management solutions is necessary to better manage flood risk.

Victim: Photo issued by Derbyshire Police of former High Sheriff of Derbyshire Annie Hall, who died after she was swept away for half a mile having drivien into floodwater.
Victim: Photo issued by Derbyshire Police of former High Sheriff of Derbyshire Annie Hall, who died after she was swept away for half a mile having drivien into floodwater.

“Unfortunately, nothing can be done to prevent flooding everywhere at all times.”

Experts said it was “too early” to attribute the flooding to climate change.

It comes as South Yorkshire Police continue work to identify a body found on a road affected by recent floods.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks past members of the Light Dragoons during a visit to Stainforth near Doncaster, northern England, on November 13, 2019, following flooding caused by days of heavy rain, and the River Don bursting its banks. (Photo by Danny Lawson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANNY LAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson walks past members of the Light Dragoons during a visit to Stainforth near Doncaster (Getty)
DONCASTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: The village of Fishlake continues to suffer from flooding as residents start to salvage belongings from their homes and businesses on November 14, 2019 in Doncaster, England. Further weather warnings have been issued as more rain begins to hit areas that bore the brunt of this week's floodings. Soldiers have been deployed to help around some the worst hit areas in Doncaster and South Yorkshire  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Researchers with the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology said the 3.1in of rainfall during a 24-hour period over November 7-8 in Doncaster was likely to happen only once every 60 years (Getty)

Officers said the man’s remains were found in Fordstead Lane near Barnby Dun, in the Doncaster area, on Saturday.

The road, between Barnby Dun and Arksey, was underwater for a fortnight after the River Don burst its banks.

The Met Office said more than half a month’s worth of rain fell in one day across parts of the UK from Tuesday into Wednesday, with further heavy downpours forecast across the country in the next 24 hours.

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