With wet and windy conditions expected from Friday and into the Christmas weekend, the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk - especially if driving or staying in an unfamiliar location.
Heavy rainfall is expected across parts of the north-west of England and the Pennines from Friday onwards and this brings a risk of flooding to land and roads. Driving through flood water can be life threatening - just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.
For 7 years, the top 3 places in the UK for flood rescues on the roads have remained the same. Rufford Lane in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Watery Gate Lane in Leicester and Houndsfield Lane in Shirley, Solihull are all fords. A record number of 642 stranded vehicle callouts was recorded by the AA on Christmas Eve 2013. People staying away with friends or family should check the flood risk for their route and destination. The Environment Agency recommends that people stay away from swollen rivers, flood water, and coastal roads and promenades in a storm.
Environment Agency teams are out on the ground clearing river trash screens and removing blockages from rivers. Staff from the Agency, supported by the British Army, will be on standby throughout the festive period and ready to respond wherever needed. The Agency will also support local authorities responding to any surface water flooding.
Kate Marks, Environment Agency Flood Risk Duty Manager, said:
“Storm Barbara will bring rain and wind over Christmas, we want to make sure everyone gets home safely. It’s easy to check our warnings and alerts or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates
“Environment Agency teams are on standby throughout the festive period and will issue flood warnings and alerts where necessary. This winter, we are more prepared than ever for severe weather. There are 6,500 staff trained to respond to flood incidents, 500 flood support officers and 1,200 soldiers on standby. We’ve also invested in new kit including 40km of temporary flood barriers and 250 high volume pumps.”
Keep up to date with the latest situation, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates.