England flooding: Homes evacuated as rain causes travel chaos

2 weeks ago
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People are being evacuated from their homes and there is chaos on the roads and trains after torrential downpours flooded parts of northern England.

Six severe warnings – meaning a danger to life – are in place along the River Don in Doncaster with some residents being told to leave their homes.

Dozens of people slept on chairs and benches after being left stranded in a shopping centre in Sheffield overnight.

More than 100 flood warnings are in place across England.

Fran Lowe, from the Environment Agency (EA), urged people to take them seriously “as they represent a threat to life”.

“Respond immediately and get out of any place affected by a severe flood warning,” he said.

More than 50 people have been rescued from their static homes after a caravan site near Doncaster flooded.

Elderly and vulnerable people were among those who were led to safety from Willow Bridge Caravan Site after the River Don overtopped in the area.

Meanwhile, residents in Rotherham have been told to stay at home and not leave unless asked to do so by emergency services.

The council said the town centre, Whiston, Catcliffe and Laughton Common were areas of greatest concern.

The north of England and the Midlands were hit by flooding chaos on Thursday night, with the highest rainfall recorded at Swineshaw in the Peak District, which had 112mm (4.4in) in 24 hours.

Parts of Sheffield experienced 85mm (3.4in) during the same period.

The average monthly rainfall total for Yorkshire at this time of year is 89mm (3.5in).

The five severe flood warnings have been issued for the following locations:

  • River Don at Barnby Dun
  • River Don at Bentley
  • River Don at Kirk Bramwith
  • River Don at Kirk Sandall
  • River Don at South Bramwith
  • River Don at Willow Bridge Caravan Site

Most people left stranded overnight in Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield have now left after being forced to bed down overnight.

A spokesperson said about 30 people had stayed throughout the night, with staff helping others find a hotel or get a taxi home.

“We looked after them by providing an array of blankets, coats and towels as well as a continuous supply of refreshments,” he said.

Meadowhall said it would open as normal on Friday, although the interchange at the centre is closed.

Firefighters used boats to rescue people who were stranded in the Parkgate shopping centre in Rotherham, with dozens of them spending the night at the town hall.

Emma Cookson, who works at the Pets At Home store, was rescued but had to hitch a ride back on a boat to return earlier to check on the animals.

“There’s damage to the shop as the water’s inside but it’s just paddling really so the animals are perfectly fine,” she said.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews had rescued more than 100 people overnight, with about 500 calls to its control room between 22:00 and 04:00 GMT.

Sheffield City Council said several major roads from Derbyshire to Sheffield remained closed.

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Meanwhile, a “major incident” has been declared in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, after dozens of homes were evacuated, along with properties in Mansfield.

Councillor Simon Greaves said Bassetlaw District Council had opened its leisure centre and some residents had to be taken there by boat.

In Derby, flood defences are being built on Exeter Bridge as the River Derwent continues to rise.

The city council has activated its emergency planning process in response to the flooding.

The deluge is continuing to cause serious disruption to the transport network, with Northern warning of severe disruption across its network.

Rail operator Northern issued a “do not travel” advice for passengers using five lines on its network hit by floods.

The lines involved are between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln, Sheffield and Goole, Hebden Bridge and Rochdale, and the line from Sheffield to Leeds via Moorthorpe.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said although the rain was easing, the “impact of that will continue to be felt”.

“Some places have seen a month’s worth of rain in one day,” he said.

In Doncaster, the River Don has hit its highest recorded level, currently at just over 6.3m, higher than it was in 2007 when it also flooded.

The EA said a number of high volume pumps were being used to move water away from homes in Catcliffe in Rotherham.

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