Video: Worst flooding for 70 years in Leeds and York - thousands left without power

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HUNDREDS of residents in West Yorkshire have been evacuated from their homes and thousands were left without power due to widespread flooding.

Dozens of severe flood warnings were still in place in Yorkshire and the North West but no further rain warnings were issued.

A spokeswoman at North Yorkshire Police said the force has advised between 300 and 400 people to evacuate in York, although some people had chosen to stay.

The Met Office said the worst-hit areas would see very little rain today - 1-2mm at most in the late afternoon.

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 31 severe flood warnings, signalling a risk to life, although many of the rivers involved were predicted to have reached peak levels.

Hundreds of flood warnings and alerts are still in place across England and Wales.

The Met Office was forecasting ice in parts of Scotland today but no further weather warnings were in place.

The River Aire, in Leeds, was predicted by the EA to have reached “record levels” at 11pm last night, with nine severe flood warnings in place.

Residents in York city centre, Huntington, Tang Hall, Osbaldwick and Foss Island were advised to start moving valuables to upper floors and to prepare to be evacuated.

The EA said pumps in the Foss Barrier were at risk of electrical failure due to water entering the building and a decision had been taken to lift the barrier.

An aerial view of York, where more than 200 homes have been evacuated and a further 3,500 homes are still at risk. Picture: SWNS

An aerial view of York, where more than 200 homes have been evacuated and a further 3,500 homes are still at risk. Picture: SWNS

Sally Burns, director of communities and neighbourhoods, at York Council, said the River Ouse is expected to peak at 5.3m above normal summer levels at lunchtime on Monday - just 15cm short of the city’s flood defences.

York has 2.5 miles of flood defences, designed to withstand river levels of up to 5.45m above normal summer levels and have never been breached.

She said: “The River Ouse is expected to peak at 5.3m above normal summer levels tomorrow lunchtime. Around 500 properties are directly affected by the flooding at present and the emergency services, the Environment Agency, City of York Council and the Armed Forces are working around the clock to protect and support the city and its residents. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the last few days, including residents and volunteers.

“We’re advising people not to travel to or around the city unless their journey is absolutely necessary as many major roads are affected.”

An aerial view of York, where more than 200 homes have been evacuated and a further 3,500 homes are still at risk. Picture: SWNS

An aerial view of York, where more than 200 homes have been evacuated and a further 3,500 homes are still at risk. Picture: SWNS

West Yorkshire Police declared a “major incident”. The army deployed 100 soldiers to help assist emergency services in the hardest hit areas in Calderdale and Leeds.

More than 2000 homes were flooded in the district and left without power. Northern Powergrid said 2,600 premises were still affected at Sunday lunchtime.

In Leeds, The Kirkstall Road area of the city was badly hit, with flooding also reported in The Calls area, Leeds City centre. Around 12000 homes were alsoreported to be without power, although this has since been restored.

Up to 1000 homes in Leeds were reported to have suffered some flooding and the scale of flooding to commercial premises is still being considered.

River levels in the River Aire peaked last night and are now falling, although around 24 road closures were still in place there this morning. Many of them were centred around the A65, Wellington Street and Kirkstall Road areas.

By 3pm on Sunday, 62 flood warnings and 18 severe flood warnings were in place. The Environment Agency said “a significant number” of properties had been flooded in the Calder and Aire Valleys, and river levels were continuing to rise on the lower River Aire.

Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A spokesman said: “Washlands are starting to fill. Some significant washlands are now full upstream of Castleford.”

The affected areas included Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield (Horbury), Mickletown, Addingham, Ilkley, Otley, Castley Lane, Harewood and Tadcaster.

Alison Baptiste, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We still have severe flood warnings, meaning a risk to life, in force for parts of Yorkshire and river levels in these areas will continue to rise throughout today and tomorrow. People in these communities should continue to check their flood risk, prepare for flooding, follow the advice from emergency services and never risk driving through flood water.”

In the Bradford district, around 400 homes were evacuated with affected areas including Stockbridge, Skipton Road in Keighley, Bingley and Ilkley.

Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams, said: “The flooding situation we have experienced in West Yorkshire is quite simply the worst we have seen in 70 years, according to our partners in the Environment Agency.

“As a result we declared a major incident yesterday evening and received support from the Ministry of Defence who deployed 100 soldiers to assist with emergency and recovery efforts in Calderdale and Leeds.

“I want to reassure residents that emergency services are doing all they can and we will continue to do so until this situation improves.”

A man, who did not wish to be named, said he had been evacuated from his home in York at about 5.30am.

He said the water was waist-deep when he left.

The man, who was at an emergency rest centre at Archbishop Holgate’s School, said: “It’s not been a very nice night. I’ve had about 40 minutes sleep. Not a great way to spend Christmas.”

The Pallister family arrived at the centre with four children, who were still wearing their pyjamas.

They said the rescue services had been “really good” and checked on the family throughout the night.

Lisa Pallister, 36, said the water had not yet entered their home in the Huntington area of York but was expected to rise further during today.

She said: “We didn’t think it would reach us because we’re raised off the ground and have three storeys but, by this morning, it was on the steps and it is going to rise by lunchtime. So we had a boat ride out.

“We’re feeling all right. A bit tired, a bit shocked. We’re lucky though, a lot of other residents were flooded last night early on.

“The children have coped really well, they’ve been really brave, we were rescued out of there and they were brave.”

Mrs Pallister said they were now going to stay with parents until they could get back into their home. She said the school rest centre was full of evacuated residents when they arrived. Dozens of mountain rescue teams from across the north of England gathered in the car park.

York City Council said an emergency meeting had been held and the River Ouse was expected to peak at more than 5 yards above normal summer levels on Monday afternoon.

Record levels were also reached in the River Calder catchment area. The EA said river levels were now expected to fall but there was still an ongoing risk.

About 10,000 homes in Rochdale and Lancashire lost their electricity supply on Saturday after a main substation was damaged and another 3,000 homes in North and West Yorkshire were also without power.

Electricity North West warned that some properties may be without power until Monday.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in Lancashire and Calderdale, West Yorkshire, as soldiers were drafted in to help with the flooding.

In Lancashire, the Fire and Rescue Service - which was forced to evacuate a flooded fire station in Padiham - said it had been called out to around 350 incidents and rescued 50 people during the floods on Boxing Day.

Todmorden, in Calderdale, was completely cut-off by flood waters and emergency services had to rescue a man from a car after he drove into deep flood water in Mytholmroyd.

Areas of Greater Manchester, including Salford, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Wigan, were badly affected by flooding, with more than 300 flood-related calls to the fire service in 24 hours.

A 200-year-old former pub, which sits on a bridge over the River Irwell, in Summerseat, Greater Manchester, was swept away in raging waters, while a gas explosion in Radcliffe was believed to have been caused by the flooding.

A pothole on the M62, which appeared between junctions 19 and 20 near Rochdale, closed the westbound carriageway and, in north Wales, some drivers were forced to abandon their waterlogged cars.

People were warned not to drive unless necessary and rail passengers in Yorkshire were also advised not to travel today, with multiple railways lines either closed or at risk of closure in the wake of the severe flooding.

A spokeswoman for City of York Council said it was dealing with “unprecedented” levels of flooding.

Soldiers were deployed in the city this morning to help with sandbagging and were also sent to Cawood, North Yorkshire, to help with evacuations.

Residents of the Windsor House residential home, in Acomb, York, were moved to other care homes earlier after the basement flooded. The council spokeswoman said their families had been informed.

The spokeswoman said: “Partners and emergency services are working round the clock in York to tackle unprecedented levels of flooding in the city.

“Provisions are in place across multi-agencies following overwhelming river levels for the Foss and Ouse.

“Front line teams from all organisations are working round the clock to protect residents and tourists.”

A number of roads were closed in the area and public transport is affected. People were advised to only drive if necessary.

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Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Residential streets and a children's play area are covered by floodwater after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre. Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The scene at Navigation Road in York, as several residents await evacuation from their homes from the severe flooding after the River Foss burst its banks. Picture: PA

The scene at Navigation Road in York, as several residents await evacuation from their homes from the severe flooding after the River Foss burst its banks. Picture: PA

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The scene in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

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