UK weather: Storm Christoph to bring two months of rain in two days as Britain braces for floods

Jamie Johnson
·3-min read

Watch: UK weather - Storm Christoph brings 'danger to life' flood warnings - with snow also expected

Storm Christoph is set to deluge Britain with two months worth of rain in 36 hours as families have been told to start moving furniture upstairs to protect against flooding.

Vast swathes of the North and Midlands are being warned of a “danger to life” and whole communities could be cut off, the Met Office has said.

Amber warnings have been put in place across Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Peterborough for Tuesday, affecting millions of people, as the first named storm of the year is expected to last for three days.

Already, there are 56 flood alerts and 11 flood warnings in place, with the River Ouse and River Witham both in danger of bursting their banks.

In Doncaster, the local council has been delivering sandbags to people in properties that are most at risk.

“If you are in one of the affected areas, you should start preparing your property for flooding, including moving furniture and valuables upstairs,” said a statement on the council website.

Vehicles negotiate a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leciestershire - Mike Egerton/PA
Vehicles negotiate a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leciestershire - Mike Egerton/PA

At present there are no plans to evacuate any communities, however preparations for evacuations and to create Covid-secure rest centres will have been made by the relevant agencies as a precautionary measure, the Environment Agency confirmed on Monday.

The average rainfall in West Yorkshire for the entire month of January is 90mm, while in Greater Manchester it is 103mm.

But this week, over 100 mm of rain is expected across the higher ground with the potential for 150-200 mm of rain in the most exposed areas.

The rain will also lead to rapid melting of any remaining lying snow across the higher peaks adding to water entering the river network.

The Met Office says that homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, while fast flowing or deep flood water could cause a danger to life.

Delays and some cancellations to train and bus services are likely, while some roads could be closed and communities cut off by the flooding.

People crossing a bridge over a flooded river in Great Easton, Essex - Yui Mok/PA
People crossing a bridge over a flooded river in Great Easton, Essex - Yui Mok/PA

Power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses is also likely, they warn.

Katharine Smith, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said that teams are out on the ground clearing grilles, screens and closing flood barriers.

“We urge people to keep away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car,” she added.

A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service told the Telegraph: “We continue to carry out our core functions during this pandemic, albeit with increased vigilance around social distancing in order to keep our staff and the public safe. There will be no change to the way in which we respond to emergencies.”

The Met Office's Chief Meteorologist Dan Suri, said “Following a cold spell where the main hazard was snow, our focus now turns to notably heavy rain moving across the UK this week. Some locations could see over 100mm of rain falling through the course just a couple of days with up to 200mm possible over higher ground.

"These amounts of rainfall along with snow melt present a real threat of flooding and people should keep a close eye on flood warnings from the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

“As the system moves away into the North Sea Wednesday night and Thursday morning there will be strong winds along the east coast for a time. Meanwhile, colder air coming southwards into the weather system brings the risk of further snow on the back edge of this system. Temperatures will gradually fall across the UK through the end of the week and into the weekend bringing a return to widespread overnight frosts.”

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