Anxious wait ahead as Storm Frank threatens Yorkshire with another battering

A view of the Ulls Water in Glenridding, Ullswater, Cumbria, as Storm Frank battered the UK on its way towards flood-hit areas.  (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
A view of the Ulls Water in Glenridding, Ullswater, Cumbria, as Storm Frank battered the UK on its way towards flood-hit areas. (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
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Heavy rain and gales brought on by Storm Frank battered the UK on Wednesday, bringing fears of fresh flooding and further misery to the north of England.

Thousands of homes across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been left without power as the third named storm in a month to hit the country caused widespread disruption.

A man wades through flood waters at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. (Pictures: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

A man wades through flood waters at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. (Pictures: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

High winds and further torrential rain are expected in the already flood-ravaged North today, with people in some areas urged by officials to immediately evacuate their homes.

The Environment Agency had earlier warned of the potential for further significant flooding, especially in Cumbria, while Floods Minister Rory Stewart said a potentially “very bad situation” lay ahead.

In many areas the ground is still saturated from previous downpours and river levels remain at record highs.

Waters are receding, but across the North, more than 6,700 homes have flooded in the past week.

There were still four severe flood warnings, 46 flood warnings and a further 81 flood alerts in place across England and Wales at one stage on Wednesday afternoon, but as of 8pm those had reduced to no severe flood warnings, 31 flood warnings and 131 flood alerts. The first time since Boxing Day that there had been no severe warnings of any sort across the UK.

There were, however, still 17 flood warnings and 12 flood alerts across Yorkshire and the North East, with York - one of the worst-hit areas on Boxing Day - still very much in danger.

Water levels are dropping across Yorkshire but there is still a threat of more flood misery and The Environment Agency website said of York: “The current level at York is 3.9m. Levels in York are continuing to fall slowly. Levels in York will start to rise slowly overnight in response to today’s (Wednesday’s) rainfall, we currently expect levels to reach up to 4m, or 13ft 2 inches, by Thursday evening.”

Powerful winds have already disrupted flights in and out of Belfast International Airport where planes were held or diverted among gusts of up to 55 knots, or about 63 mph.

Lisa Pinney of the EA said river levels had been falling but the renewed rainfall increased the risk of fresh flooding in already saturated areas like Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

She said the agency and its partners were working with communities like those in Appleby, in Cumbria, which has been repeatedly flooded, to make sure they were as prepared as possible for the fresh onslaught.

Keep up-to-date with the latest flooding news by following the Environment Agency website here.