Cold and bright conditions to give way to wind and rain next week

Monday is set to start cold and bright across most of the UK, but forecasters have warned milder weather and the risk of flooding are just around the corner.

After snow hit large swathes of the country on Sunday, the mercury was expected to drop to between minus 10C and minus 12C overnight in parts of the Midlands and Wales.

Two yellow weather warnings across eastern Scotland and the island of Ireland for snow and ice will remain in force until 11am.

It means icy patches on untreated roads and pavements are expected, with journeys by road and rail likely to be affected.

Similar warnings for ice cover the south, Midlands, Wales and the north west until 11am.

The Met Office said the weekend’s snowfall should remain on the ground through Monday, but by Wednesday temperatures across the south could have jumped back up to 10C or 12C.

With the milder weather comes a greater risk of flooding, with further problems possible in southern parts by the end of the week.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge told the PA news agency: “It’s a bit of a rollercoaster from cold and wintry conditions to wet and windy ones.

“We are keeping an eye on rainfall totals because there are some areas that are very sensitive to rainfall and there is further possible flooding as we go through the second half of the week.”

The return of a warmer weather front will bring more anxiety to communities hit hard by Storm Christoph last week.

Winter weather Jan 23rd 2021
Winter weather Jan 23rd 2021

A recent investigation by Greenpeace’s investigative arm Unearthed and the Guardian found many of flood defences across England could be in a state of disrepair following years of high rainfall.

Freedom of Information requests found 3,400 flood defence assets were deemed to be in a poor condition last year – 6% of all structures in England – by Environment Agency inspectors.

Many areas in northern, central England and Wales, particularly towns and villages along the River Severn, endured flooding last week.

According to the Guardian and Unearthed investigation, as many as one in 10 flood defences in these regions were in disrepair in 2019-20.

Residents of Bewdley in Worcestershire were hit by flooding for the third year in a row last week and residents have appealed directly to the Government for their defences to be upgraded.

The Environment Agency said, over the last year, repairs had been prioritised in areas at greatest risk.

A spokesman said: “We maintain approximately 78,000 flood assets across England, 95% of which are in good condition and repairs prioritised where there is significant threat to lives and livelihoods.

“Our 2020 recovery programme inspected over 20,000 assets and, supported by a £120 million government investment, all of our assets are winter ready either through repairs or, where these have not been completed, robust contingency plans are in place.”

It said in areas where repairs were unfinished, it had deployed temporary barriers, and also had 250 high volume pumps available, 6,500 trained staff and a network of trained contractors.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We know how flooding can devastate communities, which is why since 2015 a record figure of £2.6 billion has been invested in flood schemes, better protecting 300,000 homes, and over the next six years we are doubling that investment – £5.2 billion for 2,000 new defences to better protect a further 336,000 properties.”