Major rivers could be flooded until Tuesday, Environment Agency warns

The Environment Agency has warned that flooding from major rivers could continue until Tuesday, amid widespread disruption caused by Storm Babet which is posing a “risk to life” in some areas.

Three people have died since the storm hit the UK on Wednesday, while a search continues in Aberdeenshire after a report of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater.

Flooding has caused travel chaos across Britain’s rail networks with train operators advising customers not to travel on Saturday.

Flooded rail line
Flooded railway tracks at Hooton, Merseyside (Merseyrail/PA)

The Environment Agency (EA) said three severe flood warnings were in place around the River Derwent in Derbyshire, meaning deep and fast-flowing water carries a significant risk of death or serious injury, as well as serious disruption to local communities.

Derby City Council said they are seeing record-breaking water levels in the River Derwent and warned that cleaning up after the floods could take several days.

Katharine Smith, EA flood duty manager, said: “Following persistent, heavy rain from Storm Babet, severe river flooding impacts are probable in parts of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire today and into Sunday.

“Severe river flooding impacts are occurring on the River Derwent in Derby, where we have issued severe flood warnings, and significant impacts are also possible elsewhere across the Midlands and parts of northern England today.

“Ongoing flooding is probable on some larger rivers including the Severn, Ouse and Trent through to Tuesday.”

Elderly residents are rescued in the village of Debenham, Suffolk
Elderly residents are rescued in the village of Debenham, Suffolk (Mary Scott/PA)

More than 300 flood warnings – where less dangerous flooding is expected – have been issued by the EA across England since Thursday, with the greatest numbers in Yorkshire and the East and West Midlands.

On Saturday afternoon, 275 warnings remained in place, while the agency said 237 flooded properties had been reported, with a further 20,000 protected by defences.

Scotland has also been badly affected and a red weather warning – which also warns of danger to life – has been issued for the second consecutive day for parts of Angus and Aberdeenshire.

In Wales, a severe flood warning has been issued for the village of Llandrinio, Powys, as well as isolated properties in the Severn-Vyrnwy confluence area.

Autumn weather October 21st 2023
Emergency services go door to door speaking with residents in Aberdeenshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Energy Networks Association said around 100,000 customers had been affected by power cuts due to Storm Babet, but by Saturday morning 96% had been reconnected, leaving 4,000 still without power.

On Friday, a man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing flood water in the town of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire.

Police Scotland previously said a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday evening, killing the 56-year-old driver.

A 57-year-old woman also died on Thursday after being swept into a river in the region.