Storm Dennis: Vigilance advised ahead of weekend’s severe weather warnings

The Environment Agency is urging landowners and stock-keepers across England to sign up to flood warnings and to check the latest safety advice as Storm Dennis is set to arrive in the UK on Saturday (February 15).

Heavy, persistent rain on Saturday and Sunday is likely to bring significant river and surface water flooding to parts of England over the weekend.

Current forecasts indicate a heightened risk of flooding across much of southern, central and northern England this weekend, with impacts continuing in some slower responding rivers into Monday and Tuesday.

It has been an exceptionally wet winter so far with autumn rainfall records being broken for South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

England as a whole had its fifth wettest autumn on record. Over the winter period, the Environment Agency has issued a total over 1,400 flood warnings while flood defences have protected approximately 64,000 properties.

Ahead of Storm Dennis, the Environment Agency is operating flood defences and flood storage reservoirs and is ready to issue flood warnings and advice to those at risk ahead of the incoming weather. The Foss and Hull Barriers are already in operation, helping to protect thousands of properties.

Environment Agency teams have also put up additional temporary flood barriers today on the River Severn and in Lancashire on the River Ribble to provide additional protection to communities ahead of expected high river levels brought by the heavy rain.

Barriers planned for deployment tomorrow include at Ilkley, Yorkshire and Leatherhead in Surrey. Over 500 staff are on active incident duty, and 30 mobile pumps have been deployed.

As of 6:00pm on February 14, there are 14 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 135 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, in place across the country.

Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have teams out across England today continuing to prepare for the severe weather that we are expecting over the weekend.

“The above-average rainfall that we have seen since the autumn means that we’ll be seeing rain falling on already wet ground, leading to an increased risk of flooding.

We are already operating our large flood defences, including the Foss and Hull Barriers, as well as our flood storage reservoirs right across the country to reduce the risk of flooding.

“Our operations teams are also out on the ground putting up temporary flood barriers and installing mobile pumps where needed to help keep homes and businesses safe from rising river levels.

“We will continue to monitor weather and river levels closely and we are issuing flood warnings to communities at risk to help them take action and stay safe.

“With the effects of climate change, we are seeing more frequent periods of extreme weather. It is important for people to be aware of their flood risk and stay safe by signing up for flood warnings, making a flood plan and remembering not to drive or walk through flood water – it’s not worth the risk.”

You can sign up for the Government’s free flood warnings online and keep up-to-date with the latest safety advice here or by calling Floodline on: 0345-988-1188.