West Sussex flooding: Holiday park evacuated as River Arun bursts banks and sparks ‘get to high ground’ warning

A holiday park in West Sussex has been evacuated with one person hospitalised after the River Arun burst its banks, sparking urgent warnings to “get to high ground”.

With hundreds of flood alerts in force across the country in the wake of Storm Kathleen, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were carrying out rescue operations in the seaside town of Littlehampton.

They urged anyone requiring lifesaving intervention to dial 999 to contact the fire and rescue service or the coastguard, and urged people to avoid the area and remain in their homes and get as high above the ground as possible within their buildings.

The emergency services were also dealing with a “severe flooding incident” at Medmerry holiday park between East Wittering and Selsey, some 13 miles west of Littlehampton – issuing an anyone in the vicinity of the holiday park to get to high ground if they are able to leave their homes.

South East Coast Ambulance confirmed a “number of resources” were sent to help evacuate and rescue a number of people from the site, with a spokeperson saying: “We’ve assessed and triaged a number of people at a nearby facility. One person showing signs of hypothermia has been taken to hospital.”

Large swathes of the country are on high alert with 106 flood warnings and 210 lesser flood alerts issued by the Environment Agency, and warnings of “danger-to-life” gales reaching up to 65mph. Wales is subject to 13 flood warnings and 24 flood alerts.

Hundreds of locations across England have been warned to brace for possible flooding (Environment Agency)
Hundreds of locations across England have been warned to brace for possible flooding (Environment Agency)

Weather warnings for wind are in force along the south coast of England until 9am on Tuesday and spanning the west coast of Wales and parts of northern England until 3pm, cautioning of the potential for power cuts and likely travel disruption.

Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast to carry on battering parts of southern England, western Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland over the next few days.

In Hampshire, flooding was also affecting the railway at Lymington Pier. Trains may be cancelled, delayed, or revised because of this problem, said South Western Railway, adding that replacement buses had been requested between Lymington Pier and Brockenhurst. The disruption is expected to last until 10am.

On the Great Western Railway, flooding between Clifton Down and Severn Beach means all lines are closed as water has risen above the tracks on the branch line. Trains running to and from Severn Beach will run between Taunton/Weston-super-Mare/Bristol Temple Meads and Clifton Down only.

And in Pembrokeshire, Dyfed-Powys Police urged motorists to avoid the area around the A487 at Penycwm after it was closed due to surface water.

Met Office provisional statistics showed that England saw a record amount of rainfall in the 18 months to March. Mr Partridge said the past three months in particular had made for a “very wet start to the year”.

In April, Storm Kathleen caused widespread travel disruption as hundreds of flood alerts were issued and thousands of homes lose power.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said that while these levels of rainfall would not be a “huge cause for concern” on their own, they will fall onto “already saturated ground” which increases the risk of flooding.

Mr Partridge added: “We’ll continue with very unsettled weather as we head into spring, which is usually when we start to see things settle down a little bit more.

“We’re continuing with one area of low pressure after another, which is mainly down to the fact that the jet stream is a bit further south than it would normally be at this time of year.”