Published on : Monday, February 17, 2020
Storm Dennis forced hundreds of U.K. residents to evacuate their homes and disrupted railways and roads across the country as the experts warned flooding could continue for another three days. The Environment Agency in United Kingdom issued a record number of flood alerts – more than 600, including four severe “danger to life” warnings – as more than a month’s worth of rain fell in 48 hours in some parts of the country.
The police forces declared major incidents in South Wales, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire as rivers burst their banks and landslides blocked roads and trapped residents.
One of the worst-hit areas on Sunday was the village of Nantgarw, near Cardiff, which was left with entire streets underwater.
Paul Mason, group manager of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, which carried out hundreds of rescues of people and their pets said that he has never experienced anything like this before. They started getting calls at 5am. The water was up to the window sills in some instances, so we sent a number of boats and crews down here, systematically going through each of the houses, knocking on doors, trying to prioritise individuals.
This weather is unprecedented. It’s incredible, and it’s right throughout the South Wales Valleys. In my 31 years in the service this is the worst they have ever seen. Melanie Hughes, 38, said she was awoken by shouting and car alarms in the early hours and managed to get everybody safe.
More than 1,000 homes were deluged by water in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area alone, prompting Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones to launch a crowd-funding appeal. Seeing the floods devastate our communities is truly heartbreaking. A man in his sixties died after being pulled from the River Tawe near Swansea on Sunday morning but police said the death was not suspicious or linked to the bad weather.
The River Teme also burst its banks and flooded villages on the Shropshire and Worcestershire border. In Lindridge the fire and rescue service even had to rescue their own colleagues who had become stranded in a fire engine.
There are dozens of roads and railways were also flooded after torrential downpours and high winds caused by the second storm in just over a week. All train services between the southwest of England and Bristol, and between Southampton and Bournemouth, were cancelled.
Some parts of the U.K. were also battered with winds of more than 80mph, with the highest measuring 91mph in Aberdaron in north Wales.
More than 150 flights were cancelled on Sunday morning due to the weather conditions. Video footage showed a passenger plane landing almost sideways at Heathrow airport while battling with powerful headwinds on Saturday.
A yellow severe weather warning for wind remains in force for western and northern England until 11am on Monday. Gusts of up to 70mph are expected to bring further travel disruption. Severe flood warnings remain in force for the rivers Neath and Taff in south Wales, as well as the River Teme further north.
The Met Office said a total of 156.2mm of rain fell at Crai Reservoir in Powys in the 48 hours from Friday to Sunday morning, compared to the monthly average for February of 111.1mm. High river levels in York, West Midlands, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and southern England are expected to last until Wednesday.