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Flood defences prepared for more wet weather in the wake of Storm Christoph

Emma Bowden and Eleanor Barlow, PA

Preparations are under way for further wet weather next week after homes were flooded following days of heavy rain caused by Storm Christoph, the Environment Secretary has said.

Care home residents were among those evacuated due to floods in several areas across the North West, while in Wales, a helicopter crew rescued a family trapped in their home due to fast-flowing floodwater.

Two severe flood warnings – meaning danger to life – were in place at midday on Friday for the River Dee at Farndon and the Lower Dee Valley from Llangollen to Trevalyn Meadows.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Storm Christoph is now set to give way to colder winter weather this weekend as rainfall begins to ease, according to the Met Office.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice said authorities are monitoring river levels in Yorkshire and preparing for more rain expected next week.

He said flooded properties are a “real tragedy” for anyone affected, with around 70 homes deluged in the recent adverse weather.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It is incredibly disruptive when people have their homes flooded, but around 26,000 homes have been protected from the various flood defence assets we have had in place.

“We have got 600 people on the ground putting up temporary barriers, using pumps in areas of Manchester where there were particular flood challenges.

Flood debris
Barrels of beer and other debris floated down the streets of Northwich during flooding (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We are particularly monitoring the situation in Yorkshire as the water moves through those river systems and, of course, preparing as well for next week where later next week more rain is expected.”

He said around £2.5 billion has been spent on flood defences over the last five years.

General insurance leader at PwC UK Mohammad Khan said that based on current weather, the firm estimates insurance losses from Storm Christoph to be between £80 million and £120 million.

“This is clearly dependent on what future rainfall occurs but currently would be less than the losses that occurred from Storm Ciara last year,” he added.

At midday on Friday, there were 139 flood warnings and 126 less serious flood alerts in place in England, and three flood warnings and 12 flood alerts in Wales.

Emergency services are continuing to support communities in areas of Cheshire where residents have been evacuated, police said on Friday morning.

A spokesman for Cheshire Constabulary said there had been about 100 people evacuated in Warrington, 48 in Northwich – where residents of a care home had to be taken to safety by firefighters – and four in Farndon.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “Whilst the heavy rain has stopped and floodwaters are subsiding, a number of flood alerts and road closures remain in place and we are urging people to be aware of these and to only travel if it is absolutely essential.

“If you do need to go out, please take extra care and allow more time for this as there is a risk of surface water flooding and weather-related debris in places.”

Around 40 residents were assisted out of the Weaver Court care home in Northwich by fire crews with dinghies on Thursday afternoon, as most of the town centre laid under water.

Earlier in the day, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service had said it was in the process of rescuing 21 people by boat from Lea Court nursing home in Warrington.

Shortly after 11pm on Thursday, the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon assisted emergency services in rescuing a family from an isolated property near Rossett, Wrexham.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it had attempted to make the rescue by boat, but crews were unable to access the home due to fast-flowing floodwater and conditions too dangerous to navigate in darkness.

HM Coastguard said two adults and a child were airlifted to safety by the helicopter and passed into the care of emergency services at the scene.

Elsewhere, around 80 residents were evacuated and a major incident was declared when homes were flooded in Skewen near Neath in South Wales on Thursday evening.

Storm Christoph moving away to the east will make for colder conditions into the weekend, when temperatures could drop to minus 10C overnight in localised parts of Scotland, and as low as minus seven in parts of England.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “It will be feeling cold, I think that certainly will be something we will all be noticing, it will be colder than it was to start the week.”

A yellow weather warning of snow and ice has been issued for all of Wales, southern and north-west England and western Scotland, with disruption expected on Friday evening and into early Saturday.