UK flooding as it happened

Key Points

  • The worst of the problems caused by flooding across the UK appear to have passed, with weather forecasters predicting no more heavy rain - but 35 flood warnings remain in place.
  • The River Ouse in York peaked at 5m above its normal level, but that was just below flood defences. Another half-hour of rain could have seen more serious consequences.
  • A young couple found dead in a swollen river near Wrexham may have been trying to rescue a dog - although police say that can only be treated as speculation at this stage.

    Welcome to our live page coverage of a fourth day of chaos caused by flooding in many parts of the UK.

    On Monday torrential rain and 70 mph winds hit the West Country with trains cancelled in Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. On Tuesday the bad weather spread to the North of England where 300 homes were flooded and 100 vehicles were trapped on the A1 in North Yorkshire.

    On Wednesday a block of flats in Newcastle was said to be close to collapse and Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, was split in two after a bridge was closed. Homes and businesses in York city centre were also flooded after the River Ouse burst its banks.

    A clear-up operation is beginning in some places but dozens of communities have been warned they are still at risk.


    BBC weather forecaster Laura Gilchrist said in her forecast this morning that the worst of the rain had eased.

    She said the persistent rain that has caused problems in England and Wales is not likely to return and, although there would be light showers in some areas, many places would have a dry day. But, she explained, flood warnings remain in place due to the potential for some of the rainfall from recent days to still be flowing through river systems.


    The water level has peaked in York at 5.06m above the normal level. It is expected to peak mid-morning in Cawood and Selby.

    Wigan Council

    tweets: Flood update: Slag Lane, Lowton + Mort Lane, Tyldesley still closed. We are working hard to get these roads open today.

    The Environment Agency

    tweets: Still many flood warnings in place Advice on how to prepare & cope with flooding here #FloodAware


    Firefighters in Skeldergate, York, say they used a boat to take carers to a residential home to give medication to elderly residents. They also say crews were sent to a caravan park at nearby Bishopthorpe where people were stranded.


    BBC weather forecaster Carol Kirkwood has just popped up for her hourly bulletin on the BBC News channel. She says that today will see rain - not particularly heavy - in the north of Scotland but it will be a fine afternoon in most places. Looking further ahead, Friday will be a windy day while Saturday will be a pleasant day in most places. Remember you can check the latest weather at any stage on the BBC Weather website.

    Flooding in York on Wednesday York is suffering one of its worst ever floods, with the River Ouse at its second highest level

    Craig McGarvey from the Environment Agency said the level of the River Ouse in York should start going down this evening. He said 4,000 sandbags were laid by the Army last night, that flood defences in York were excellent and 2,000 properties had been protected. He said it was the second highest flood level in record in York.

    The AA

    tweets: As flood waters recede, drivers should be wary of silt and debris on roads affected by the flooding.


    Yorkshire Water issued a statement warning that river water was getting into the sewer network and overloading it, which is causing it to "surcharge" at Leeman Road and Jubilee Street.

    It adds: "Working alongside the fire service, we currently have mobile pumps in operation to try and reduce the overloading of our sewer network and all of our pumping stations are operational and working at full capacity to pump the waters up for treatment. More mobile pumps are being brought in this morning to further support ongoing efforts.

    "However, the most important factor in all this remains the exceptionally high level of the River Ouse, so obviously as that starts to subside, we would expect the situation regarding our local sewer network to improve dramatically."

    Photo: Robin Davis Robin Davis took this photo close to the Drax power station in Selby on his journey on the Newcastle-London East Coast train this morning.

    The schoolboy struck by lightning in Swindon yesterday afternoon has been named as 11-year-old Joe Compton by his head teacher at the Dorcan Academy in Swindon.

    Joe is said to be in a "serious but stable condition" at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.


    Julia Lewis, from BBC Radio York, reports from Bishopthorpe: "It is frighteningly similar to 12 years ago when York was devastated by floods. It is a bright sunny day, but instead of a street we have got a lake."

    She says: "There is about 50 to 100m of water right across the road near Bishopthorpe Palace, the home of the Archbishop of York. It is passable with care, but some cars are not taking care."

    Scene from York on Thursday BBC online journalist Tim Dale took this picture of firefighters ferrying carers to a care home in Skeldergate, York

    Sonja Crisp, the Labour councillor for Holgate ward in York, told BBC Radio York: "People are furious that they've got to face this (flooding) yet again. They've got the risk from the river - I know we're going to get work done on that shortly - but it should have been done a couple of years ago."


    One of the most memorable images of the past few days from flooded West Yorkshire was the widely-viewed video footage of surfing instructor Oli Barrett being towed along a flooded road on a body board.

    Oli Barrett being towed on a surfboard along Castleford in West Yorkshire

    North Yorkshire Police are reminding drivers not to ignore signs warning of road and bridge closures, even if it looks like flooding has cleared. Some bridges are still structurally unsafe.

    The police say there have been a number of incidents of people ignoring the signs.


    The Environment Agency lifts flood warnings in Staffordshire but says the River Weaver at Shrewbridge Lodge and Weaver Way in Cheshire is still at risk.

    Cheshire East Council said eight roads are closed following heavy rain and full details are available on its website.


    Tadcaster, in North Yorkshire, is still divided in two as inspection work continues on a bridge in the town which has been closed since yesterday.

    The bridge, which carries the A659 over the River Wharfe, was closed when firefighters noticed water seeping through the structure.

    A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman said water levels had to fall in order for a "proper structural inspection" of the bridge to take place and the bridge would not be opened until the damage had been inspected.


    Are you puzzled as to what caused the UK's most intense September storm for three decades? BBC Weather's Peter Gibbs has the answers.

    Ady Carter in York
    A flood barrier in place in York

    tweets a photo of a flood barrier deployed outside his office: There be just a tiny bit of water behind the flood barrier then....


    BBC correspondent Matthew Richards said it was thought a 27-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man whose bodies were found near the River Clywedog in Wrexham may have died after trying to rescue some dogs.

    He said he had spoken to a local man who had seen several dogs, without owners, in a nearby car park shortly before the bodies were found.


    Floodwater in the north west England is subsiding. In Northwich, Cheshire, there are still sandbags in the town centre and part of London Road is still closed.

    On Merseyside there are some flood alerts in place for several areas including St Helens, Warrington, Frodsham, Southport and the Wirral.


    Aerial scenes filmed above John Smith's brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, yesterday show hundreds of kegs of its beer - famed for its "no nonsense" slogan - floating across the yard after the River Wharfe burst its banks.

    Floating beer kegs at the John Smith's brewery in Tadcaster

    Want to get a quick overview of which parts of the UK suffered the brunt of the storms this week? Our interactive floods map captured the situation yesterday afternoon at what was probably the peak of the problems.


    A Met Office spokesman said a "kink" in the jet stream had caused this week's wet weather. He said low pressure bringing the rain was caught in the kink and "ricocheted" around the country instead of passing north of the UK.


    Hayley Pugh, who runs a snooker club on Tower Street in York, one of the businesses flooded by the River Ouse, said: "We are usually quite busy at this time of the year with the students coming back to the city. We can't open so we will lose money as simple as that.

    Snooker club in York

    "Next step will be to call the insurance company and get the water pumped out. I can't imagine how much it will cost to replace everything. Our carpet cost over £30,000 to put in."


    City of York Council backs up the message from Hayley Pugh (see 1140) as it says it is keen to reassure people the city should not be avoided completely - a key message on behalf of shops and other firms who would want to avoid taking a further knock to their business.

    It points out that although current river levels are 5.07m above summer level, that is not as high as the measurement during the 2000 floods, when it reached 5.4m above summer level.

    "York is very much open for business and all agencies have sufficient resources in place," it says.

    Townhouses in Newcastle

    The future of a block of townhouses in Newburn, Newcastle, is unclear but this photograph shows water cascading past them. Floodwater has gouged out the land around the homes, forcing them to be evacuated while their structural safety is assessed.

    1213: Nick Ravenscroft BBC North of England correspondent

    The River Ouse continues to meander through York city centre with a sedate menace. But it looks like they've got away with it. If there had been a further half-hour of heavy rain yesterday, it could have been different. But at the moment York looks to be safe.

    Photo: Sarah West Sarah West took this photograph of the flooded streets of York from the city's Skeldergate Bridge this morning.

    The BBC's Matthew Richards in Wrexham says the coroner has been informed about the deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were found near the River Clywedog and post-mortem examinations will be carried out on Friday.

    He said they were believed to have been walking dogs on the riverbank, which is owned by the National Trust.

    Our correspondent says: "The answer should come from the post-mortem examination but the signs appear to be that this a double tragedy linked to the bad weather that we've had."


    The couple who died in Wrexham have been named locally as Alicia Williams and David Platt, but are unlikely to be named officially until the coroner opens an inquest tomorrow.

    Simon Braithwaite

    in Filey, North Yorkshire writes: I lived in Kings Staith for 30 years. The river flooding has always happened. When we have exceptional rainfall, it simply can't go anywhere. Look across the river in the city - the width is tiny, compared to the volume it has to handle. So this will continue to be a regular occurrence but we seem to want a quick fix to this problem. Get used to it - it's here to stay. I don't say this lightly: anyone who gets flooded goes through real, serious heartache. But with its position, York is a sitting duck in a situation like this.

    The couple have been named locally as Alicia Williams and David Platt

    This photograph of Alicia Williams and David Platt, named locally as the two people whose bodies were found near the River Clywedog, is from their Facebook page.


    Police are investigating the possibility that the couple found dead in Wrexham may have been trying to save a dog from the swollen River Clywedog. Det Ch Insp Mark Pierce said they were seen earlier walking with five dogs - and a witness says he later saw dogs sitting beside an empty vehicle.


    Alicia Williams was 27 and David Platt 25. Det Ch Insp Pierce told reporters that "one of their dogs may have gone into the river and one or the other" went in to help although that was still only "speculation".


    BBC News correspondent Ed Thomas - delivering his One O'Clock News report from a flooded street in the centre of York in a dinghy, surrounded by rescue workers - says a section of the A1 remains closed in the Catterick area but it was hoped the road would reopen later.

    Ed Thomas in dinghy in York

    Showing that BBC News correspondents go to many lengths to get their story on air, here is Ed Thomas pictured in a dinghy in York for the One O'Clock News. Earlier, the crew accompanying him helped rescue people from a care home in the city.


    A couple evacuated from their Newcastle home say they want someone to take responsibility for the damage. Greg and Anna Blyth, who say they have been homeless since Tuesday, believe the problems date back to the collapse of a nearby culvert in June and the flats they and their neighbours live in are "very unsafe".

    Neither the landowner nor the developer of the flats have commented.


    The number of flood warnings in place continue to fall. Information on the Environment Agency website website shows there are now 40 in place in England and one in Wales.

    Yorkshire Water

    tweets: River Ouse has now stabilised and levels are expected to fall steadily over the next few days

    1355: Nick Ravenscroft BBC North of England correspondent

    Residents in York are breathing a sigh of relief. The River Ouse has now stabilised - it's about 24cm short of what its flood defences could have coped with - even though it had peaked at 5m above its usual levels. "The crisis they were fearing overnight has passed and has not materialised."

    A felled tree in the River Derwent in Malton Nick Fletcher took this photo today of a felled tree in the River Derwent in Malton

    The family of Joe Compton, the 11-year-old struck by lightning in Swindon yesterday and now said to be in a stable condition in hospital, have issued a statement. They say they want to thank PE teachers at his school, Dorcan Academy, and staff from a local leisure centre who came to his aid. "We owe a huge amount of thanks to them," they say.

    Flooded street near Clifford's Tower in York

    The BBC's Phil Bodmer in York took this picture of Clifford's Tower in the city, protected by its mound, as Tower Street remains under water.


    New flood defences in Worcestershire - introduced this summer - are working well, the Environment Agency has said. The £1.7m works were built after the village of Kempsey suffered more than 20 floods between 1978 and 2008.


    Back to the situation in York. The city's council leader has criticised the Environment Agency following a delay to planned flood defences. Speaking near Leeman Road, where the government has approved funding for a £3.2m scheme, Labour councillor James Alexander said: "If we had the flood defences here in the first place we wouldn't have some of the flooding we've had."


    Mr Alexander said he would be writing to the government to request additional financial support following the flooding in York.


    Responding to the concerns of York City Council leader, Mark Scott from the Environment Agency said it was hoped the work on the flood defences would begin in December "as planned and to a very high specification". But he apologised to residents "who have been waiting". The Water End/Leeman Road scheme is designed to protect about 400 homes and businesses.


    A "town of two halves". Just how are people coping after flooding caused the bridge linking both sides of Tadcaster in North Yorkshire to be shut? The BBC's Alex Moss has been hearing from residents.

    Helen Scurry

    in York, writes: How can the council blame the Environment Agency. All the problems on Leeman Road and also in Bishopthorpe are down to the drains and not the river, this must be down to the council or Yorkshire Water. I think the Environment Agency and the emergency services have been fantastic over the last few days.

    Flowers left near scene of deaths in River Clywedog

    Flowers have been left near the scene of the two deaths in the River Clywedog at Felin Puleston, Wrexham. Police activity in the area is over but tape remains in place to stop the public crossing into a field adjacent to the river bank.


    In Newburn, Newcastle, residents have been evacuated from two more buildings amid fears a nearby block of flats could collapse after floodwater gouged out ground beneath a nearby block. People living in Hareside Walk and Hareside Close flats had been allowed home but have now been told to leave again.


    Organisers of the York Food and Drink Festival, taking place in the city this week, have issued an update reassuring potential visitors the festival is still very much on and all major events will take place as scheduled.

    Its website says: "All attractions, shops, bars and restaurants are open, except a tiny few which sit by the riverside, where there is localised flooding. York's Food Festival is in full swing and it's a beautiful sunny day to visit."

    Although the weather is clearly improving and the sun has shone on the city today after days of rain, the "beautiful sunny day" comment may be a bit of stoic Yorkshire wit.

    Environment Agency Yorkshire & North East

    tweets: as a precaution we are reinforcing the lowest points in the #Selby flood defences with 150 large 1 tonne sandbags #floodaware


    The RSPCA in York took a decision to close its animal home in Clifton today. Although the building was unaffected, three outside compounds were flooded. "We have made the decision to close the home to enable us to concentrate solely on the welfare of the animals," it said in a statement on its website.

    1559: Breaking News

    The two bodies recovered from the River Clywedog at Erddig, Wrexham, last night have been formally identified as Alicia Williams and David Platt who were both 25 and from Ruabon near Wrexham, North Wales Police said.


    Police said the deaths were not being treated as suspicious but the circumstances are still being investigated. Det Sgt Eleri Thomas said: "We would appeal for anyone with information to contact North Wales Police on 101."


    The Highways Agency says that one lane of the A1 between junction 49 and the A6136 for Catterick South has reopened. The other lane remains closed as flood water is still being pumped.


    Eight metre-high flood defences just managed to protect a North Yorkshire village from the swollen River Ouse - after the Army brought in 4,000 sandbags to bolster defences in Cawood, between York and Selby, last night. BBC Look North has been speaking to residents whose homes have been affected by flooding.


    That's the end of our live page coverage for the day. The number of flood warnings in place around the UK now stands at 35, the lowest number for a couple of days. You can get the latest information at any time on the Environment Agency website for England and Wales.

    So what does the immediate future hold, weather-wise? The forecast from BBC Look North - covering the most affected areas - predicts mainly clear skies this evening with increasing cloud overnight bringing patchy drizzle by dawn. Showers tomorrow will be "few and far between". BBC Weather has forecasts for all parts of the UK but its adjectives for any predicted rainfall vary between "light" and "patchy" rather than anything more torrential.


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