Hundreds of homes flooded as cold weather alert issued for most vulnerable people

The Environment Agency said that, as of Saturday afternoon, more than 1,800 properties had flooded, ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports

More than 1,800 properties across England have flooded amid heavy downpours this week, as temperatures look set to plummet at the weekend.

River levels continue to rise after heavy rain overnight, with hundreds evacuated in Nottinghamshire, Gloucester and east London.

Experts warned the impact of surface water and river flooding will continue to be "significant" across parts of England with almost 250 flood warnings and 262 flood alerts in place in England and Wales.

The Environment Agency said that, as of Saturday afternoon, more than 1,800 properties had flooded thanks to saturated ground, with warnings that the impact of high water levels is likely to continue over the next five days.

While the Met Office predicts the wet weather has passed, water levels remain high and colder temperatures are predicted for the next few days.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a yellow cold weather alert for the vulnerable and elderly from 9am on Saturday until noon on January 12 with temperatures likely to be a few degrees below average across much of the UK, especially overnight, with ice an issue on wet ground.

What is the weather forecast across the weekend?

The Met Office predicted Saturday would bring a dry day to most areas with some sunny spells, although with a few showers along the coast and feeling cold with frost and fog patches overnight.

It said temperatures will drop to minus 4C in parts of rural south-west England on Saturday night and minus 6C in rural areas along the Welsh border in Shropshire and north Herefordshire on Sunday night.

Sunday is forecast to remain largely dry, except for the occasional shower in southeast England early in the day, with the cold weather continuing for much of the next week.

Government announces financial support

A scheme called the Flood Recovery Framework, announced by the government on Saturday, will be available to eligible areas in England that have experienced exceptional localised flooding.

The financial support is to be used in exceptional circumstances to support councils and communities following severe flooding.

Help will also be available for: 

  • Small-to-medium sized businesses in eligible affected areas, who can apply for up to £2,500 from the government's Business Recovery Grant

  • Eligible flood-hit property owners, who can apply for up to £5,000 to help make their homes and businesses more resilient to future flooding

  • Farmers who have suffered uninsurable damage to their land will be able to apply for grants of up to £25,000 through the Farming Recovery Fund

Holiday homes in Northampton surrounded by water after Storm Henk. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, parts of the UK are without power and there is widespread disruption to travel on the rail and roads.

It comes just days after disruption caused by strong winds and rain from Storm Henk, which has left the ground saturated and more prone to flooding.

For the UK as a whole, the period between July and December 2023 was the wettest since records began in 1890, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) said.

Environment Advisor Senior Flood Advisor Alex McDonald says the UK needs to be more 'resilient' to floods as weather records are consistently being broken

The centre's figures show rainfall from September to November for the UK was 22% above average, while parts of central and northern England and eastern Scotland saw 70% above average rainfall.

Storm Henk was the eighth named storm since September – that’s already the highest number of storms affecting the UK to be named by the Met Office in a year since they started naming them in 2015, UKCEH said.

Rishi Sunak has said that people should be “reassured” by the response to flooding in badly affected areas. The Prime Minister has faced calls to visit local areas, as well as criticism of government support for flood defences.

Asked if there would be compensation for people affected by the flooding,  floods minister Robbie Moore said the government was “absolutely looking at what measures we can put in place”.

He added that the amount of funding for flood resilience plans had been doubled “from £2.6 billion to £5.2 billion”.

South-east England

Heavy rainfall and flooding has caused major disruption across the south east.

The highest rainfall totals recorded on Thursday were 35.2mm at Otterbourne in Hampshire, with a wide range of 20-30mm across much of the southern counties of England.

In London, a party boat which acts as a floating bar, restaurant and nightclub sank in the River Thames.

Fifty people were led to safety after a canal burst its bank causing flooding between Dace Road and Wick Road in Hackney Wick.

Newbury train station is flooded.

Across the region, drivers faced hazardous conditions with flash flooding leading to the closure of many roads.

Landslips were reported at Robertsbridge in East Sussex and in Maidstone, while the tracks at Newbury train station resembled a river.

Outside Corfe Castle, drivers can be seen making their way through the deep floodwater.

The Midlands

The deluge of water, causing the River Trent in Nottinghamshire to burst its banks, has led to hundreds of homes being evacuated, a herd of cows drowning in their field and many buildings and businesses being flooded.

A major incident was declared in the Midlands on Thursday "due to rising levels along the river Trent", Nottinghamshire County Council said.

Some residents who live in flood-risk areas were evacuated from their homes.

Forecasts showed peaks along the river Trent could "come close to the highest levels on record from the year 2000".

ITV News Midlands Correspondent Ben Chapman reports on the impact of the ongoing rain on the River Trent, in Nottinghamshire

A man stranded on his shed roof by floodwater was rescued by a crew from Highfields Fire Station who used a boat to bring him safely to land.

Several residents of Radcliffe Residential Park, an estate of static caravans for the over-55s just to the east of the city, were evacuated due to high water levels.

People were urged not to travel through floodwater, to stay away from swollen waterways and to prepare for the event of evacuation, with multiple roads closed in the county.

Elsewhere, a number of cows drowned in the village of Sawley, Derbyshire, prompting an animal welfare investigation.

In Oxfordshire, an 87-year-old woman died after she hit a tree which had fallen due to strong winds across a road near Crays Pond.

"I spoke to people in the East Midlands yesterday who had been affected and talking to them about how ," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told ITV News.

South-west England

In Gloucestershire, a evacuation centre was set up at Walton Cardiff while people living on Alney Island, between two branches of the River Severn, in nearby Gloucester were urged to leave their homes overnight for a nearby leisure centre.

On the railways, the line between Reading and Taunton, was closed due to flooding.

Heavy rain throughout the week has left several train lines submerged, leading to services being cancelled. Credit: Great Western Railway

Train services running to and from these stations may be cancelled, delayed or diverted via Bristol Temple Meads, Great Western Rail said. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.

South Western Railway said it could not run trains between Yeovil Junction and Exeter because of a landslip near Crewkerne tunnel in Somerset.

The line was closed last month because of damage caused by a landslip in the area, which was repaired by Network Rail.

East of England

Nearly 40 flood warnings have been put in place across the East of England.

Further rain on Thursday evening has caused flooding, with multiple flood warnings in place for Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

Drone shots show the flooding at Billing Aquadrome, Northamptonshire, on Wednesday. Credit: PA

In Northamptonshire, hundreds of people are still out of their homes at a caravan park which was flooded by the River Nene.

A landslip is also affecting a railway embankment near Arlesey in Bedfordshire.

Thameslink - which tweeted an image of the landslip - said it was on the west side of the railway. 

The damage means that the line used by northbound stopping services is shut, and there is a 20mph speed restriction on the two lines used by northbound and southbound express services.

Meanwhile, four schools are closed in Norfolk and Suffolk due to the flooding.

North of England

Parts of York and North Yorkshire have flooded due to heavy rainfall caused by Storm Henk.

Flooding continues to affect areas around the River Ouse in the city. Land and properties between the Scarborough Bridge, Millennium Bridge and King's Staith have been particularly affected.

Floodwater at the Foss Barrier. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Stefan Laeger, of the Environment Agency, said: "Significant surface water and river flooding impacts are possible across parts of the Midlands and the south and east of England on Thursday and Friday due to heavy localised rainfall falling on already very saturated catchments.

"Ongoing minor impacts are also likely across much of England over the next five days as some larger rivers slowly respond to recent and forecast rain."

Showers will continue into Friday morning, according to forecasters, and are likely to affect parts of south-west and eastern England, Wales and areas in Scotland.

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