Major incident declared as Storm Christoph batters North West

A major incident has been declared as parts of the North West are hit by torrential rain and flooding as Storm Christoph continues to batter the UK.

The Environment Agency are most concerned about flooding from the River Irwell in Greater Manchester, and the River Ribble in Lancashire.

Ribchester, next to the River Ribble, are no strangers to flooding, and are doing everything they can to protect themselves. 

  • Granada Reports' weather presenter Kerrie Gosney has been monitoring the progress of Storm Christoph.

Meanwhile Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say the safety of the public is their number one priority.

They have declared a major incident to ensure they are "as prepared as possible" for the on-coming storms.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, chairman of the Greater Manchester Strategic Co-ordination Group for Storm Christoph, said: "In order to ensure that we're as prepared as possible for the heavy rainfall expected from Storm Christoph, we have declared a major incident.

"The safety of the public is our number one priority and we're continuing to work alongside partner agencies across the region.

"Whilst we appreciate that everyone has been told to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, we want to make it clear that should members of the public need to evacuate to protect themselves due to flooding then that is the priority and you should follow your local authority's advice regarding evacuation."

He urged anyone with concerns about flooding in the area to contact their local authority.

He added: "Heavy rainfall is expected from later today (19 January) and that could cause flooding in several areas across Greater Manchester - we are preparing for this and are continuing to monitor the situation very closely. We will continue to provide updates as often as we can."

Residents in Ribchester are preparing for the worst as the banks of River Ribble swell following the first day of Storm Christoph.


East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North East Cheshire are likely to bear the brunt of the heavy rains and gale force winds. A yellow rain alert is also in place for the rest of the region.

11 local flood warnings have been issued in total throughout the UK, covering parts of Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.

There are a further 61 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible in the area, although the number is expected to increase significantly as the impact of the first heavy rain is felt overnight.

The Environment Agency has urged people living in those areas to prepare for the risk of significant flooding as the heavy rain hits already saturated ground.

Defences including temporary barriers and the opening of flood storage reservoirs are being prepared, the Environment Agency said.

There will be cooler, calmer conditions towards the later half of the week going into the weekend as Storm Christoph blows its way across the North Sea, leaving strong winds along the east coast.

Pubs like the Ribchester Arms have prepared its flood defences as water levels continue to rise.

The Environment Agency described the combination of torrential rain and melting snow as a “volatile situation”, as councils prepare for possible evacuations should a severe flood warning be issued.

Catherine Wright, acting executive director for flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said: