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Thousands of homes left without power as UK storms continue

Flooding in U.K.

A man canoes along a submerged street in Yalding, Kent. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images


Powered by article titled “Thousands of homes left without power as UK storms continue” was written by James Meikle and Robert Booth, for on Friday 27th December 2013 12.15 UTC

Strong gales and heavy rain have continued to batter the UK, leaving thousands of homes without power and prompting flood warnings across much of southern England and the Midlands, with parts of Kent causing particular concern.

An estimated 1,200 homes have been flooded over the Christmas period as forecasters warned of continuing strong winds and rain spreading north and east across the UK. Ferry sailings between Britain and Northern Ireland have been cancelled.

The Met Office has issued yellow and amber weather warnings, indicating severe or hazardous weather with potential to cause danger to life or widespread disruption, and urged many people to prepare for flooding. Police urged drivers, particularly those of high-sided vehicles, to take extra care, while a number of roads remained blocked with fallen trees.

The Environment Agency said there could be significant disruption across southern England, saying: “It is possible that heavy rain may worsen the current flooding situation in some areas with rivers responding quickly to rain falling on already saturated ground.”

The agency warned that Canterbury and Ashford on the Great Stour river in Kent could be inundated with floods in the coming days, as several days of heavy rain continues to push water levels higher.

The warning comes despite lighter than expected rainfall in the south-east of England, with the agency reporting just 10mm of rain overnight despite predictions of much heavier rainfall. The improvement in the weather is good news for the residents of Yalding and Maidstone on the river Medway in the north of the county, where dozens of homes were flooded on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day.

River levels downstream of the Leigh Barrier, in Tonbridge, Yalding and Maidstone, were the highest recorded, the agency said. River levels in the most saturated catchments of south-east England are expected to exceed those of the floods in 2000, following rainfall of up to 100mm between 21 and 24 December.

The agency is sending out “flood ambassadors” to the centre of Canterbury “to reassure and support people” where the Great Stour river is still responding to the rainfall of the past few days. Its officials are also monitoring water levels on the Thames.

The Met Office recorded a gust of wind in Aberdaron, in west Wales, of 109mph early in the morning – with general wind speeds of between 60mph and 80mph expected in the UK.


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