UK weather: Emergency meeting as more than 130 flood warnings and alerts issued

Sharon Marris, news reporter

The prime minister will chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee later as parts of the UK deal with the aftermath of severe flooding.

Several parts of Yorkshire and the East Midlands were hit by a month's worth of rain in just one day late last week, with areas around the River Don near Doncaster among the worst affected.

Around half of the 700 residents of Fishlake, near Doncaster, fled their flooded village and in Derbyshire a former high sheriff, Annie Hall, died after she was swept away by floodwater in Darley Dale, near Matlock.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is visiting areas submerged by the floods, and is calling for a national emergency to be declared.

The Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting this afternoon comes despite Mr Johnson saying on Saturday that the situation "is not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency".

At the time he had said: "You've got to face the reality that places like this are vulnerable to flooding - we're going to see more of it."

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter to the PM accusing him of not doing enough to help those in flooded areas.

He said: "If this had happened in Surrey, not Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it seems far more likely that a national emergency would have been declared."

Ms Swinson also called on the prime minister to declare a national emergency.

"It's incredibly powerful to see the community spirit," she told Sky News on a visit to a charity in North Yorkshire helping victims who have lost their homes and possession.

"I've heard stories about nine-year-old's selling their trick or treat sweets to support those families - so there's some real heartwarming stories here.

"But that's because of the heartbreak just a few miles away in Fishlake and other communities where families have lost everything...

"The local response from people in the community is brilliant, but the national response is not what it should be - there should be declared a national emergency immediately."

Among the damage discovered today was a farm house and barns effectively turned into an island in Barlings, Lincolnshire, and a boat seen floating near traffic lights along what used to be a road.

The COBRA meeting is due to take place on Tuesday afternoon, as the rain is forecast to move to the south.

Helen Roberts, a meteorologist for the Met Office, said the outlook for parts of the country affected by flooding was "improving", although there could still be more heavy rain on Tuesday morning.

She said: "What we've got is a band of rain moving across that part of the country, particularly first thing in the morning.

"It's sort of gradually going to move its way southwards as the day goes on."

The Environment Agency has issued five severe flood warnings in South Yorkshire and they affect the River Don at Bentley, Fishlake, Kirk Bramwith, South Bramwith and Willow Bridge Caravan Site.

Thirty-eight flood warnings (meaning flooding is expected) are also in place across the country, with 12 by the River Don.

There are 92 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible and affected residents should be prepared.

The Met Office has a yellow weather warning for rain in place until midday on Tuesday, covering parts of Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield.