Flood-hit communities are preparing for another weekend deluge as Storm Jorge brings further heavy rain and strong winds to the United Kingdom today – with forecasters warning of 10 more days of misery.
Parts of Wales and northern England could see up to 80mm of rain – a month’s worth – this afternoon as the storm hits, with the Met Office issuing three days of weather warnings.
Downpours have already begun in the West Country with torrential rain forcing the closure of roads after a car smashed into the central reservation on the A38 at Moorswater, near Liskeard, Cornwall.
In Salisbury, Wiltshire Police are trying to find a man spotted swimming in a flooded river amid ‘serious concerns about his safety’ after he disappeared and locals were not able to find him.
Jorge, which was named by Spanish meteorological services rather than the Met Office, could bring strong winds to much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Saturday, reaching 70mph on coasts and up to 60mph inland.
Police have warned flood-hit families across Shropshire and Worcestershire, where evacuations have been taking place in towns throughout this week, to expect ‘another ten days of difficult conditions’ with more heavy rain due.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declined to say whether he will be visiting areas where people have been made homeless by recent floods, while visiting the headquarters of a charity for the homeless on Thursday morning.
It comes as flood-hit residents in Ironbridge refused to leave their homes yesterday amid fears over looting as they praised the community for ‘looking out for each other’ amid warnings over a further ten days of misery.
When asked about the weekend’s weather prospects, Met Office forecaster Emma Salter said: ‘It’s not good news I’m afraid, given all the recent rainfall we’ve had.’ She described Friday as ‘another wet and breezy day’.
The Fire Brigade come to the aid of two men stuck in their vehicle in flood water in East Cowick where residents have been evacuated from their homes in Yorkshire
Flood-hit communities are preparing for another weekend deluge as Storm Jorge brings further heavy rain and strong winds to the United Kingdom today – with forecasters warning of 10 more days of misery (pictured, the next three days of weather)
Police have warned flood-hit families across Shropshire and Worcestershire, where evacuations have been taking place in towns throughout this week, to expect ‘another ten days of difficult conditions’ with more heavy rain due (pictured, a lorry stuck in flood waters in East Cowick, Yorkshire today)
A home is flooded in East Cowick, Yorkshire today ahead of further rain over the weekend. Storm Jorge will hit this afternoon bring further misery to flood-ravaged communities
A landlord has been forced to row around his pub in a boat after it flooded three times in a month – leaving him in two feet of water and with a £50,000 repair bill (pictured, Mr Fox in his boat)
Parts of Wales and northern England could see up to 80mm of rain – a month’s worth – this afternoon as the storm hits, with the Met Office issuing three days of weather warnings (pictured today, the River Severn in Gloucester has burst its banks)
A red sky was seen over Blyth Pier and Lighthouse in Northumberland this morning, ahead of a weekend deluge in which flood-hit communities are expected to be further ravaged by severe weather
A severe ‘danger to life’ flood warning covering the river at the Wharfage in Ironbridge, Shropshire, remains in place, while 74 flood warnings and 118 flood alerts have been issued
Storm Jorge is set to move across the United Kingdom through the weekend. Jorge, which was named by Spanish meteorological services rather than the Met Office, could bring strong winds to much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Saturday, reaching 70mph on coasts and up to 60mph inland
Flooding in Severn Stoke in Worcestershire on Thursday (right; and a normal view, left) after the River Severn has broken its banks
Aerial photos have shown the extent of flooding in rural communities. Pictured is the River Severn flooding into surrounding fields in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Veterinary hospital is gutted by flood water after Storm Dennis deluge and will be closed for six months
Devastating photos show a new veterinary hospital completely destroyed by flooding.
It will take six months to get the vets back up and running after Storm Dennis caused havoc.
Valley Vets only opened in Gabalfa, Cardiff, last July.
But the gutted pet carers have now posted photos of the recent chaos.
Staff at the hospital said everything will have to be completely replaced due to the flood damage and potential contamination
It posted on its Facebook page: ‘As you can see from the photos everything will have to be completely replaced due to the flood damage and potential contamination.
‘On a positive note we have light. The electricity has been reinstated. This means the clean up can begin. We’ve estimated a three to four week timescale for this.
‘With regards to the hospital reopening we are looking at a six month timescale, this is to get our hospital back up to full capacity.’
Staff at Valley Vets have been overwhelmed by the reaction but have asked for donations to be directed to a nearby charity Hope Rescue instead.
‘There will be rain first thing in the South West and Wales, with a fairly dry start for most other places,’ Ms Salter added.
‘That rain in the far South West will move eastwards and it will be raining pretty much everywhere by lunchtime.’
The Met Office’s chief meteorologist, Paul Gundersen, said further flooding is possible with rain forecast to fall on already saturated ground.
Flooding along parts of the River Severn, which has reached close to its highest levels in some areas, is likely until at least Sunday, the Environment Agency said.
A severe ‘danger to life’ flood warning covering the river at the Wharfage in Ironbridge, Shropshire, remains in place, while 74 flood warnings and 118 flood alerts have been issued.
Rising waters pushed back the town’s temporary flood barriers towards a pub and other businesses, sparking fears that the defences could be fully breached.
Speaking in Ironbridge on Thursday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the reason for his delay in visiting the town was to allow for the emergency services to ‘deal with the immediate impacts’.
Asked why Prime Minister Boris Johnson was yet to visit, the Conservative MP said: ‘When he appointed me two weeks ago he made it clear he wanted me to lead on this.
‘I have kept him regularly informed with what is happening.’
Residents in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley were forced to evacuate earlier after the river spilled over barriers at Beales Corner.
And in East Yorkshire, residents were being evacuated from the village of East Cowick after the River Aire broke its banks.
This month is already the second wettest February on record, with the total average rainfall from February 1 to 25 measuring 179.3mm, the Met Office said.
The figure to beat is 193.4mm, which was set in February 1990.
Mr Gundersen said: ‘This weekend we’ll see another named Storm bring strong winds to parts of the UK with several wind and rain warnings in place.
‘We have issued rain warnings for parts of Wales and northern England, where rain will be heaviest and we could see 60-80mm possible over the highest ground.’
Flood-hit residents in Ironbridge (pictured) refused to leave their homes on Thursday amid fears over looting but praised the community for ‘looking out for each other’
An aerial view of Bewdley, Worcestershire, on Thursday also shows the amount of flooding after the River Severn broke its banks
The isolated area of Severn Stoke, which has a population of 600, had been deluged on Thursday after the river broke its banks
The flooding of Severn Stoke on Thursday came after heavy rainfall in the aftermath of Storm Dennis nearly a fortnight ago
Police hunt for man spotted swimming in a flooded river in Salisbury amid concerns for his safety
Police are trying to find a man spotted swimming in a flooded river today amid fears for his safety.
The man was pictured in the water in Salisbury in Wiltshire at approximately 9am this morning.
A man in the water in Salisbury in Wiltshire at approximately 9am this morning
A police spokesman said: ‘The man was spotted by a number of members of the public in the river opposite Wiltshire College at approximately 9am this morning.
‘The current is very strong and although we believe the man may be an experienced swimmer, we have serious concerns about his safety.
‘If you know who the man is, or if you believe the man pictured is you, please could you make contact with us via 101 or 999 immediately to confirm you are safe and well.
‘We would also like to strongly advise any other members of the public against swimming in the river at this time due to the dangerous conditions.’
The Republic of Ireland is expected to face the strongest and most damaging winds, Mr Gunderson said.
The storm will be followed by snow over the hills and mountains in the north of the UK and rail and hail in the south. Winds are forecast to ease slightly on Sunday.
Yellow weather warnings for rain are in place for the North West and South West of England, parts of Wales and Northern Ireland between midday on Friday and 9am on Saturday.
The Met Office has also issued a yellow wind warning from midday on Saturday covering most of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and south-west Scotland – lasting until lunchtime on Monday.
On Thursday, Mr Johnson declined to say whether he would visit those made homeless by recent flooding.
Speaking in central London, he instead focused on how the ‘massive issue’ of flooding ‘presents an opportunity’ for job creation.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously accused Mr Johnson of being a ‘part-time Prime Minister’ due to his absence from affected areas.
Mr Johnson said on Thursday: ‘There’s a massive issue about flood defences, and we have put £2.6 billion in and we will be investing another £4 billion.
‘This is something that is absolutely critical for our country to tackle.’
England has received over 200 per cent of its average February rainfall, according to the Environment Agency, with some areas experiencing a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours.
Toby Willison, executive director of operations at the Environment Agency, said: ‘Our operational teams continue to work night and day to protect communities alongside the River Severn, which is experiencing record levels.
‘River levels will remain exceptionally high on the Severn for some time and communities, in particular Shrewsbury, Bewdley, Bridgnorth and Ironbridge, should prepare for potentially ongoing severe flooding.’
Severn Stoke, pictured on Thursday, is home to a historic pub called The Rose And Crown in a 16th century timber building
The Worcestershire village of Severn Stoke (pictured on Thursday) has been deluged after the River Severn broke its banks following heavy rainfall
Aerial photographs show how the village of Severn Stoke in Worcestershire has been overwhelmed by flooding on Thursday
An aerial view of flooding in Severn Stoke just south of Worcester on Thursday where the River Severn has broken its banks
Why is this storm not called Ellen?
The Spanish meteorological service, part of the south west Europe storm naming group, named Storm Jorge on Thursday.
It is convention for all other national meteorological services to then use that name when referring to low pressure weather systems.
As such the system will not be named Ellen but will align with European partners and be referred to as ‘Jorge’.
The fact that the system may have a different name than some expected should not influence the response.
The weather over the weekend could have impacts due to the strong winds and those in the warning areas should take the advice of local emergency services seriously.
With rain falling on already saturated ground, further flooding is possible places.
Storm Jorge is the fifth storm to hit the UK since December 6 last year and third in February,
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said it was ‘not uncommon’ to see so many storms in such a short period of time.
Dramatic aerial photographs show how a picture postcard village in the Malvern Hills of Worcestershire has been overwhelmed by severe flooding from the River Severn with residents left homeless.
The isolated area of Severn Stoke, which has a population of about 600 people, has been deluged after the river broke its banks following heavy rainfall in the aftermath of Storm Dennis nearly a fortnight ago.
Dozens of homes, the Grade II-listed church and playing fields have been left underwater in the village which is still under an Environment Agency flood warning amid fears more rainfall could see river levels rise further.
An EA warning for Severn Stoke yesterday said: ‘Flooding of properties and roads in and around Clifton and Severn Stoke continues. Further rainfall is forecast over the next few days, and this is likely to cause river levels to rise again.
‘We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are checking defences. Please move possessions and valuables off the ground or to safety, and avoid contact with flood water.’
Severn Stoke is home to the Rose And Crown pub in a 16th century timber building, which was devastated during floods on Christmas Day 2012 when water levels rose to 18 inches in the bar as diners abandoned their lunches.
But the landlord and landlady Pete and Di Fryar continued living in the Grade II-listed building and were able to reopen less than a month later thanks to help from local residents and Marston’s Brewery in Wolverhampton.
Severe flooding from the River Severn in the village of Severn Stoke on Thursday left some residents homeless
An aerial view of flooding in Severn Stoke near Worcester and Upton upon Severn on Thursday where the river has broken its banks
Dozens of homes, the Grade II-listed church and playing fields have been left underwater in the village of Severn Stoke on Thursday
Severn Stoke remains under a flood warning on Thursday amid fears further rainfall could cause river levels to rise again
Severn Stoke, pictured on Thursday, is isolated, with the local school having closed in 1969 and only occasional buses operating
The Worcestershire village of Severn Stoke has a Grade II-listed church and has been deluged by the recent flooding (pictured on Thursday)
The River Severn has burst its banks after heavy rainfall during the previous week in Tewkesbury, Gloucester (pictured on Thursday)
Dave Throup, Environment Agency manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said 500 tonnes of water – the equivalent to six HGVs – was flowing through the city of Worcester (pictured on Thursday) every second
The River Severn has spread into fields around its banks in Worcester (pictured, flooding in the area on Thursday)
An aerial view of Ironbridge, Shropshire, shows houses which have been flooded and blue barriers along some of the river (pictured on Thursday)
The village is remote, with the local school having closed in 1969, only occasional buses operating to and from Worcester and Upton upon Severn and the nearest railway station of Great Malvern being a 20-minute drive away.
People living in riverside homes in the Shropshire town stayed put despite hearing a loud bang yesterday followed by a gushing sound as emergency flood defences that had held out for a week finally gave way to the Severn.
February is already the second wettest on record
This month is already the second wettest February on record, according to the Met Office.
Total average rainfall across the UK from February 1 to 25 was 179.3mm (7.1 inches) – more than the 175.2mm measured in 2002, which was previously ranked as the second wettest February.
Whether this month stands a chance of becoming the wettest ever February on record is unclear, however.
The figure to beat is 193.4mm (7.6 inches), which was set in February 1990.
Four more days of data – Feb 26 to 29 – will need to be combined with the current total of 179.3mm before the Met Office can publish a provisional figure for the entire month.
Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast to arrive in the UK as part of a weather system that has been named Storm Jorge by the Spanish meteorological service.
Rain warnings for parts of Wales and northern England have been issued, with 60mm (2.4in) to 80mm (3.1in) possible over the highest ground.
The Met Office’s rainfall data goes back to 1862.
It shows that the lowest February rainfall on record is 9.1mm (0.36in) in 1932.
The figure for February 1862 – the oldest available – is 32.0mm (1.26in), which currently ranks as the eleventh driest February on record.
Gareth Anderson, 50, who lives next to the Wharfage area of the town, has stayed in his home for two weeks now and said on Thursday: ‘I haven’t left. I don’t see the need to leave. The community here is one that will help each other.’
Mr Anderson added that he was concerned by reports of looters, saying: ‘A few night ago a group of young lads were hanging around asking if people were in their homes.
‘I said every house was occupied. We all look out for each other down here. It’s crazy that a time like this people have to protect their home.’
But West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: ‘We have not received any reports of looting in Ironbridge.
‘We have officers out and about in the town throughout the day and night who are very much still responding to the flooding in the local area as well as providing reassurance and a visible presence.’
Some 35 properties have been evacuated, with police saying said ‘virtually all’ residents have now left.
Among those staying put was Elizabeth Maiden, 88, who said from her home: ‘I’ve lived here for 80 years and it was worse than this in 1947 and 2000. Do I want to be evacuated? No. Where would I go? I can’t see any point in leaving.’
Although a severe flooding, danger to life warning is still in place for the River Severn at the Wharfage in Ironbridge, the water level is reducing. The Environment Agency revealed the gauge for Buildwas at 6pm on Thursday was 5.82m and falling. A peak level of 6.79m occurred at 9am on Wednesday morning.
Snow also affected Britain on Thursday, and 0.6in (15mm) of rain fell on heavily saturated areas, before a further 2.4in (60mm) across Friday and Saturday in Wales and northern England – when 70mph winds are also expected.
West Mercia Police told people in the Wharfage area of Ironbridge to leave their homes and businesses and said the force’s presence on the ground will ‘continue for the next ten days’ before things get back to normal.
Water is seen extremely close to homes and businesses where the River Severn and River Avon converge near Tewkesbury (pictured on Thursday)
A mobile home park is seen flooded after the River Severn broke its banks during the floods (pictured on Thursday)
Aerial shots show the damage done to Worcester by the heavy rain and flooding (pictured on Thursday)
An image shows where the River Severn and River Avon converge near Tewkesbury and have flooded into fields (pictured on Thursday)
Fire crews arrived on Thursday in Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire, where locals have criticised the lack of help they have received (pictured on Thursday)
Members of the coastguard in Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire, arrive to help communities affected by flooding on Thursday
People survey flooding in Snaith, East Yorkshire, on Thursday where locals have criticised the lack of help they have received
Members of the fire brigade in boats get through floodwater in Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire, on Thursday afternoon
A woman has her door protected with sandbags in Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire, Thursday afternoon
Members of the fire brigade in boats get through floodwater in Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire, Thursday afternoon
A road snakes its way through floodwater after the River Severn has broken its banks in Worcestershire (pictured on Thursday)