Floods fear as two months of rain heads for hills

Library picture showing flooding in Old Malton looking towards the A64
Library picture showing flooding in Old Malton looking towards the A64
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OVER two months of rain could fall on parts of Yorkshire today, leading to warnings of flooding as the downpours continue.

Hot on the heels of Storm Abigail which ripped through the north, the remnants of Hurricane Kate threaten more weather misery this weekend.

North and West Yorkshire are the areas most at risk from significant river and localised surface water flooding.

The Environment Agency and local authorities are on alert and preparations include a team of EA volunteers from the South-East who have brought 500m of temporary defences to Yorkshire in case they are needed.

Calderdale Council said they had extra staff on standby in case of any flooding and would be monitoring river levels.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning, valid from 6pm today, warning of heavy and intense rain, especially over hills and high ground. As much as 150mm to 200mm could fall in the highest, most exposed areas, including parts of the Yorkshire Dales, although Cumbria is considered most at risk.

The western upslopes of the Pennines, extending to the west of Keighley, also have a low risk of seeing rainfall in excess of 100mm. The average monthly rainfall for Yorkshire in November is 90mm.

Leeds and Bradford are in an area covered by a yellow warning, valid from 3pm today, with warnings that up to 100mm of rain falling on saturated ground, could also lead to flooding.

Last night there were two flood warnings in place - at Naburn Lock on the River Ouse and at Keswick Campsite in Cumbria, and 33 flood alerts, where flooding is possible, including on the rivers Swale, Nidd, Ure and Wharfe, mostly in anticipation of the further rain due to fall today.

Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: “All that tropical moisture (from Hurricane Kate originally) is heading in our direction. It’s a combination of strong winds from a certain direction which means west-facing high ground is very prone to seeing a lot of rain. Further east will see very little in comparison.”

He said the highest risk of seeing 150mm to 200mm was parts of Cumbria and possibly Snowdonia. The Pennines were lower risk, but he added: “There’s enough rain to necessitate an amber warning and there’s a real risk of flooding.”

A spokeswoman from the Environment Agency said: “The EA will have staff working round the clock all weekend to prepare for and respond to flooding. Teams have been out on the ground clearing debris from rivers and checking that defences are working correctly, and will continue to carry out checks over the weekend. Preparations have been made with local authorities and the emergency services to coordinate the response to any flooding which occurs.

“EA staff from around the country have volunteered to travel to the North of England – including a team from the South East who have brought 500m of temporary defences to Yorkshire to be used where required.”

Two 24ft long, high-volume water pumps have been dispatched to Cumbria, which are capable of pumping 120,000 cubic litres of flood water a minute, the equivalent of more than 30 Wembley Stadiums.