Woman found dead in floodwater in Derbyshire as month's worth of rain in a day forces residents to evacuate homes

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green

The body of a woman believed to have been swept away by floodwater has been recovered in Derbyshire - as flooding forces evacuations in parts of England.

Derbyshire Police announced the death at 1pm on Twitter.

Residents have been forced from their homes, shoppers sought sanctuary in a shopping centre overnight and travel routes remain majorly disrupted across the north of England as a month’s worth of rain fell in just 24 hours.

Yorkshire and the Midlands were the worst affected areas, with six severe “danger to life” warnings in place following Thursday’s torrential downpour.

South Yorkshire was worst affected by the downpours, resulting in many shoppers having to spend the night at Meadowhall in Sheffield and interruption across the transport network.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Matlock in Derbyshire following the widespread flooding said "we need to prepare and we need to be investing in defences".

Asked what the Government was doing to support people during floods, he said: "We've got a huge programme of flood defences and flood preparation - there's £2.6 billion going into it and I think £50 million has gone into Derbyshire alone.

"But in the end, you've got to face the reality that places like this are vulnerable to flooding - we're going to see more of it.

"So we're going to rely on local authorities to do the excellent job they have done here in this situation and we're going to rely on the emergency services and also prepare for the next event.

"Thankfully what is happening here in Derbyshire is it seems to have abated now - the water and the rainfall is diminishing, the surge is moving down river and we'll have to take a judgment on what to do with villages south of Derby - it's touch and go.

"The crucial thing is to put in the preparations and that's what we're doing.

"The reason I'm here is just to thank the emergency services for everything that they've done - I think they've done a very good job."

As of Friday morning, the Environment Agency had 118 flood warnings in place.

Doncaster Council has warned some residents to evacuate their homes because the River Don is breaching its banks near St Oswald Church at Kirk Sandall.

The council tweeted: "There is a Severe Flood Warning in place for Sandal Grove, Old Kirk Sandall.

"Residents in these areas are advised to evacuate immediately."

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery

Rail operator Northern issued 'do not travel' advice for passengers using five lines on its network hit by the deluge.

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.

Dozens of customers spent the night on makeshift beds inside Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, while rescue teams attempted to help those stranded in Parkgate Shopping Park in Rotherham on Thursday night.

Saskia Hazelwood, 17, from Doncaster, told the PA news agency that she was among those stranded in Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre.

Flood water around the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield. Credit: ITV News

She said: "When we got to Meadowhall it was very hectic and we heard about the flooding and saw the river about to burst.

"Our trains were then cancelled so we went to get food, then spoke to the police and security and they told us it was unsafe to leave and there was no way of getting in or out.

"So we instantly started panicking and, when we found out there was no way of getting home, we went into Primark and all bought spare clothes and we bought food and drinks to keep us going throughout the night.

"We were in M&S for a while on the sofas until they closed the store, and we were then moved to the Oasis food quarter. We were there until 7am."

Meadowhall, which flooded in 2007, had to cancel its Christmas Live event on Thursday night, but after thousands of people arrived for the event.

Some of the most dramatic scenes were in Sheffield and Rotherham where a number of roads were left impassable to traffic, with cars stranded in floodwater and gridlock resulting on many routes.

In a statement, Meadowhall said: "Whilst the road networks have been severely affected by the floods, our centre remains dry and secure.

"The majority of customers left the building before the centre officially closed at 10pm hours but there are a small number of people who have chosen to stay with us for the time being.

"We will continue to look after them until they can return home safely."

A resident tries to make the most of the situation. Credit: ITV News

With many surrounding routes flooded and trams stopping short of the complex due to "heavy rain putting the Tinsley tram bridge at risk", gridlock led to police advising shoppers and concert goers to stay in the building.

In Mansfield, 35 homes were evacuated as part of a precaution after a mudslide in the area.

South Yorkshire Police said there had been “significant issues” in Doncaster, with Bentley, Toll Bar and Scawthorpe the worst affected areas.

Residents in Toll Bar described how the downpour was “almost biblical”, while others made comparisons with deluges which devastated communities in the summer of 2007.

The River Don was among the worst affected, having flooded the Rotherham railway station and other areas.

A number of houses were evacuated after they were inundated in the village of Whiston, near Rotherham, and, in Sheffield, the council closed Millhouses Park, where a 14-year-old boy was swept to his death in the River Sheaf during the devastating floods in the city in 2007.

At least 116 flood warnings remain in place, mostly across Yorkshire, a Met Office spokesman said.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they rescued more than 100 stranded people on Thursday night, with around 500 calls to its control room between 10pm and 4am.

The Met Office predicted the flooding rains should clear and move south-east by lunchtime, but many flood warnings are expected to last for the next few days.

The highest rainfall in the country on Thursday was recorded at Swineshaw in the Peak District, which had 112 millimetres in the 24 hours to 2am.

“There were a lot of other places that had 80 millilitres or more, especially in Yorkshire,” a Met Office spokesman said.

“The rains should clear by lunchtime, with a fine weekend ahead, but the flood warnings will stay in place for quite a while.”

Meanwhile in the Midlands, Nottinghamshire Police said officers were called to Bank End Close in Mansfield alongside the fire service over concerns of the safety of people living there.