Flood defences prepared for more wet weather in the wake of Storm Christoph

Preparations are under way for further wet weather next week after homes were flooded following days of heavy rain caused by Storm Christoph, the Environment Secretary has said.

Care home residents were among those evacuated due to floods in several areas across the North West and Wales.

Three severe flood warnings – meaning danger to life – remain in place on Friday morning on the River Dee at Farndon, Bangor-on-Dee and the Lower Dee Valley near Llangollen.

Winter weather Jan 22nd 2021
Winter weather Jan 22nd 2021

Storm Christoph is now set to give way to colder winter weather this weekend as rainfall begins to ease, according to the Met Office.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice said authorities are monitoring river levels in Yorkshire and preparing for more rain expected next week.

He said flooded properties are a “real tragedy” for anyone affected, with around 70 homes deluged in the recent adverse weather.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It is incredibly disruptive when people have their homes flooded, but around 26,000 homes have been protected from the various flood defence assets we have had in place.

Flood debris
Flood debris

“We have got 600 people on the ground putting up temporary barriers, using pumps in areas of Manchester where there were particular flood challenges.

“We are particularly monitoring the situation in Yorkshire as the water moves through those river systems and, of course, preparing as well for next week where later next week more rain is expected.”

He said around £2.5 billion has been spent on flood defences over the last five years.

At 9am on Friday morning, there were 160 flood warnings and 158 less serious flood alerts in place in England, seven flood warnings and 19 flood alerts in Wales, and four flood alerts in Scotland.

Emergency services are continuing to support communities in areas of Cheshire where residents have been evacuated, police said on Friday morning.

A spokesman for Cheshire Constabulary said there had been about 100 people evacuated in Warrington, 48 in Northwich – where residents of a care home had to be taken to safety by firefighters – and four in Farndon.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “Whilst the heavy rain has stopped and flood waters are subsiding, a number of flood alerts and road closures remain in place and we are urging people to be aware of these and to only travel if it is absolutely essential.

“If you do need to go out, please take extra care and allow more time for this as there is a risk of surface water flooding and weather-related debris in places.”

Around 40 residents were assisted out of the Weaver Court care home in Northwich by fire crews with dinghies on Thursday afternoon, as most of the town centre laid under water.

Earlier in the day, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service had said it was in the process of rescuing 21 people by boat from Lea Court nursing home in Warrington.

A number of agencies are currently involved in the evacuation of Weaver Court, Northwich. Due to the numbers involved there are a lot of vehicles and personnel on Chester Way and London Road. We are asking pedestrians to please stay away from the area. pic.twitter.com/bTzqzAITEM

— Northwich Police (@PoliceNorthwich) January 21, 2021

Elsewhere, around 80 residents were evacuated and a major incident was declared when homes were flooded in Skewen near Neath in South Wales on Thursday evening.

Storm Christoph moving away to the east will make for colder conditions into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and as low as minus seven in parts of England.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “It will be feeling cold, I think that certainly will be something we will all be noticing, it will be colder than it was to start the week.”