UK storms: Fresh severe weather reaches UK

15 February, 2014 Uncategorized0
Not Climate Change EH read this and think again.

UK storms: Fresh severe weather reaches UK

Key Points

  • Gale-force winds are affecting southern England, with gusts of up to 80 mph along exposed parts of the south coast
  • Train lines are being hit, with no services west of Plymouth and South West Trains advising against all but essential travel
  • More than 40,000 homes and businesses are still without power in Wales and England, says the Energy Networks Association
  • More than 20 severe flood warnings are now in place in parts of Berkshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Surrey

Live Text

Reporters: Nigel Pankhurst and Paul Gribben

Skip To Latest Live Text

  1. 01:18:

    The BBC News website’s Keith Moore reports a frightening experience returning on a flight from Rome, taking two attempts to land at Gatwick in the stormy conditions. “It was pretty terrifying. I don’t know what it was like for the pilots but it was quite nervy for the passengers.”

  2. 01:17:

    The Coastguard says the emergency services and the Army rescued 32 people trapped in a beachfront restaurant at Milford-on-Sea in Hampshire. It was earlier reported that rocks were swept off the beach, smashing windows and causing flooding.

  3. 00:50:

    Pete Smith, who was on a First Great Western train hit by a tree in south-west London, tells the BBC what happened on board. He says: “A huge bang, obviously, and the carriage shook quite a lot. Nobody really knew what was going on for a few seconds and everyone was looking around and then we realised that this window was completely smashed. There was a girl actually leaning right up against the window, she was particularly shaken.”

  4. 00:49: Sophie, Chatham

    Emails: It’s ridiculously windy here, lamp posts are swaying and you can hear things being blown around out side. I can imagine the streets are going to be very messy by morning!

  5. 00:48: Chris Jewer, Portsmouth

    Emails: It’s really batten down the hatches time in Portsmouth, waves are engulfing some of the seafront attractions and South Parade Pier seems as though it will be very lucky to survive the evening. The waves crashing into the seafront must be at least 20-30ft right now.

  6. 00:46:

    Scotland’s sports minister Shona Robison urged the public to be careful when visiting hills and mountains, amid avalanche warnings and a search for missing hill walkers. She said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or one thousandth trip to a mountain you must prepare properly and check the weather and avalanche conditions as close as possible to departure. The majority of walkers and skiers have safe and enjoyable trips but lives can be easily lost. Scotland’s snow-topped scenes are as potentially deadly as they are beautiful.”

  7. 00:22:

    National Grid UK (@nationalgriduk) tweets: “Do you know who to call if you lose power during #ukstorm? List of distribution companies is at”

  8. 00:22:

    South West Trains says services will not run before 08:00 GMT on Saturday to allow fallen trees to be removed and lines checked.

  9. 00:05: Sophie Willmott in Swanwick

    has emailed to say “I live on the estuary to the River Hamble in Southampton. The winds have been whipping tiles off our roof tonight. We moved our cars off the driveway to safety, minutes later our elderly neighbours’ chimney fell off and smashed onto our driveway. It’s nearly impossible to walk against this wind. Please help your elderly neighbours and look after each other!”

  10. 00:04:

    Police and mountain rescue team volunteers have been searching for two hill walkers missing on Ben Nevis. They are believed to have become disorientated in poor weather near the summit. The search operation will resume at first light.

  11. 00:03: Jane Wood, Battle

    Emails: Very wet and extremely windy here. Can hear things moving and getting blown around but we can’t see anything. Too dangerous to go outside and look.

  12. 23:59:

    The Coastguard has urged people to stay away from breaking waves after rescuing people trapped in cars at Torcross, Devon. Dave Scullion, Brixham Coastguard watch manager, said: “We have storm force winds around the south west tonight and rough seas that are generating waves that are breaking over roads. For their own safety and the safety of the rescue services we would ask everyone to stay away from seafronts until this wild weather abates.”

  13. 23:58:

    Police say 30 people are trapped in a seafront cafe at Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire. Rocks thrown up from the beach have shattered windows and flooded the ground floor. BBC South’s David Fenton said he saw Army trucks going in to evacuate them. Coastguard and ambulance were also there. Eyewitnesses say the situation is very dangerous with flying rocks a hazard. An evacuation centre has been set up at nearby Lymington.

  14. 23:56: Sarah, Botley, Hampshire

    Emails: Lots of trees down along Winchester Rd. One large tree laying in the road & has caused a car to swerve out of its path & unfortunately into another tree. All emergency services are attending. Power lines are down for the opposite side of our road. For the first time in my life I’m actually quite scared of what’s going on outside. We really are powerless against the forces of nature!

  15. Kevin Baker

    tweets: In Ryton outside Coventry wind shaking the windows. Worst weather I have seen for a long time. Thanks BBC for live updates!

  16. 23:45: Pete Smith

    was on the train home from Charing Cross with his girlfriend when a tree smashed into the window at around 2230GMT.

    Shattered train window. Pic: Pete Smith

    He told us: “Our train was hit by a falling tree just outside Mottingham station, south-east London. We were sat right by a window that was smashed by a falling tree. There was also was damage to the wall of the carriage. Scary stuff! Luckily no-one was hurt. Some passengers got out of the train to tell the driver. The train terminated there and we had a 25-minute walk home”.

  17. 23:41:

    A cruise ship passenger has died after the vessel was hit by a large wave in the English Channel. The wave struck the UK-based MS Marco Polo as it headed for its home port of Tilbury in Essex.

  18. 23:35:

    Heavy snowfall has affected driving conditions on some roads in Scotland – and the Scottish Government Resilience Committee met earlier to prepare for the weekend. Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The strong winds and snow could lead to some issues with visibility on higher ground and we would urge drivers to leave plenty of space to the car in front and to drive to the conditions.”

  19. 23:31: Jasmine Sullivan
    Broken train window. Pic: Jasmine Sullivan

    on the train struck by a tree in Wiltshire has sent this picture of the damaged driver’s window.

  20. 23:30: Jonathan from Tonbridge

    Emails: Am stuck in Oslo after my flight to Heathrow was cancelled this evening, I now consider myself the lucky one having read the accounts of passengers landing in the SE of the UK tonight. Time to batten down the hatches and hold on.

  21. 23:27: Mike Fawson, Sark, Channel Islands

    Emails: The gale in Sark is probably the worse I have ever encountered in UK waters, the wind currently is around a Force 9.

  22. 2312: Jasmine Sullivan
    Train carriage. Pic: Jasmine Sullivan.

    has told us she’s on a train near Winterslow in Wiltshire, which has just been hit by a tree. She says she heard an announcement on the tannoy that the driver’s window has been smashed but he’s ok. First Great Western have confirmed one of their trains has been hit by a tree but there are no injuries.

  23. 23:10: Minnie in London

    Emails: I just landed with BA flight from Zurich. The landing was rather scary. The captain said it was his roughest landing in 20 years. I wonder what would be unsafe?

  24. 23:06: Mike Geary from London

    emails: Stuck on an Easyjet plane at Southend airport. Despite a textbook landing in high wind speeds, the wind is too high to wheel out the door ladder. #bored

  25. 2305: Neil Rawlings from Eastleigh

    emails: Looking at the trees getting thrown around at the front of our house and saw a plane coming into land at Southampton Airport. Very jolty and had to abandon landing and take off again. Circled round and successful on second attempt. Well done to a very brave pilot.

  26. 22:35:

    Just to remind everyone, there are still 22 severe flood warnings – meaning danger to life – in place, including 15 in the South East and six in the South West, and more than 500 further flood warnings. The Met Office also has an “amber” warning of wind in place for parts of the South East, East Anglia and the London area, where gusts of 60mph are likely overnight.

  27. 22:30:

    The cruise ship operator, Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), said in a statement: “CMV regrets to advise that earlier today their cruise ship MS Marco Polo, en route to her home port of Tilbury from the Azores, was hit by a freak wave during adverse sea conditions in the south-western approaches of the English Channel.

    “One elderly passenger has died and a further passenger has been airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance. The vessel sailed from Tilbury on 5 January and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew. Our thoughts are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time.”

    A number of other passengers received minor injuries and were treated on board. The vessel had been to the Amazon, in South America, and the West Indies.

  28. Breaking News

    A passenger’s died and another’s been airlifted to shore after a cruise ship was hit by a huge wave in the English Channel.

    The wave hit the Marco Polo cruise ship, operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) as it headed for its home port of Tilbury in Essex at the end of a 42-night voyage.

    Reports suggest a wave crashed through a window injuring a number of the 735 passengers, who were mainly British. An 85-year-old male passenger and a woman passenger in her 70s were airlifted off the ship. The male passenger later died, the company said.

  29. 22:24:

    Shipping containers, which were installed at the washed-away sea wall which carries the railway line at Dawlish, south Devon, as an emergency flood defence, have been breached leaving homes vulnerable to flooding.

    The containers, which are full of ballast, had been welded together as a temporary flood defence in place of the broken sea wall. Homes in the town have also been evacuated as a precaution, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

  30. 22:16:

    Paul Davies, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, tells the BBC: “The storm today will be the last of the intense storms of the series. We are expecting the storms next week to be less intense but we are not out of the woods yet because there catchments are quite sensitised to further rain fall. They are completely saturated and any further rain fall is likely to cause further impacts.”

  31. 22:09:

    If you’re at all concerned about the risk of flooding where you live – the BBC News website is now carrying the Environment Agency’s interactive flood warning map for England and Wales.

  32. 22:08:

    National Rail now saying trains able to run between Norwich and Lowestoft after a tree earlier fell on the line.

  33. Jai

    in Windsor comments: “just had gusts of wind blow the roof off my canopy and straight into the neighbours garden…as if flooding wasn’t enough, me and my heavily pregnant wife have to put up with structural damage. Good story to tell our 1st born when he/she grows up…born amidst the worst winter in history”.

  34. Thomas Cox
    Penzance railway station being hit by waves. Pic: Thomas Cox

    took this picture of Penzance railway station taking a battering at around 17:00 GMT. He describes the weather as “really really wild”.

  35. 22:03:

    Flood sirens are have been sounded in Chiswell on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, where there is a weather warning in place.

  36. Pat Keener from Pinner

    emailed in to say: “on a flight from Rome diverted from Heathrow to Stansted due to high winds. We tried but couldn’t land at Heathrow and it was a very scary and hard landing here at Stansted. Apparently 30 other flights diverted. Now stuck on the plane for an hour while they sort us out. You can feel the wind outside rocking the plane.”

  37. 21:51:

    Heathrow Airport say some inbound flights are having to divert to other airports to refuel, as fewer flights can land due to the strong winds, as greater spacing is required between airliners making their approach to the runway.

    This means aircraft are having to fly holding patterns before making their approach, which eats into their reserve fuel, and means the pilots may decide to divert to take on more fuel. before making a new attempt at getting into Heathrow.

  38. 21:40:

    The Highways Agency says the A249 Sheppey Crossing and the QE2 bridge, which have both been closed because of high winds, may not be able to reopen until mid-afternoon tomorrow. Agency staff will monitor wind speeds closely and “reopen the bridges as soon as it is safe to do so”.

  39. 21:36:

    The QE2 bridge, part of the Dartford Crossing, has been closed because of the high winds with traffic queues building.

  40. 21:33:

    Wightlink ferries, which connect the Isle of Wight with Hampshire, say services between Ryde and Portsmouth are running on a “trip-by-trip” basis, when it is considered safe to sail. The company is publishing information via its Twitter feed.

  41. Doug Watson

    in Saltash, Cornwall comments: “Wind is picking up force for sure here. Saw water bubbling up through manholes and inspection covers a few streets away from me, the smaller covers lifted a centimetre or two off the pavements by the force of the upswell. Some drains full to capacity and the water just keeps pouring at them. Lights dimming regularly as well so good luck everybody!”

  42. Rteven Heydinrych

    in Rochester, Kent, comments: “must have had an inch of rain in about 3 minutes, its the heaviest rain I have ever seen in my life, there was a massive river going down the main road to Rochester, mind blowing, I’m worried about my property on a hill and I really feel for people living at sea level, good luck to everyone this weekend”.

  43. 21:22:

    Air passengers are being affected by the strong winds gusting across southern England, with warnings of delays at London’s two main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, Delays are building after air traffic control instigated greater separation between aircraft landing at the airports.

  44. Annie Hill from Beneknowle, Diptford in Devon
    Flooding at Beneknowle, Diptford, Devon

    comments: This is just at the bottom of our lane and it always floods. It floods very quickly but clears again relatively fast. It was passable an hour or so after I took this photo at midday today.

  45. 21:13:

    A fallen tree has blocked the railway line between Norwich and Lowestoft at Reedham in Norfolk. Services are suspended.

  46. Paul in Portsmouth

    has sent this: “winds are hammering Portsmouth at the moment!!we live in the centre of the city and the shed and and gates are rocking!Hate to think what it’s like at the seafront!!!!!!”

  47. 21:09:

    South West Trains, which operates services to Waterloo from southern England, is advising people not to travel unless absolutely necessary, after gale-force winds brought down trees onto rail lines. It’s published a list of the affected routes here.

  48. David Watkins
    Car with funny notice. Pic: David Watkins.

    took this picture in Chertsey. He tweeted ‘British humour on show!’

  49. Patricia Humphrey, a former Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead district councillor

    comments: I fought tooth and nail to prevent the development of that block of flats you have just shown on the Six O’ clock news along Ray Mead Road in Maidenhead on the banks of the Thames in Maidenhead.

    Flats along the Thames in Maidenhead Patricia Humphrey opposed the riverside flats

    When I was a Conservative district councillor in the early nineties I fought not to build on that site, because of the flooding risk, but also because it was a public space used for boats and the public in general. The fact they have built there is ridiculous. They have built a car park on the lower level which always floods and the footing that stabilises these buildings has an impact on the flow of the water which exacerbates the flooding problems they have there. The application was passed after I lost my seat on the council in the mid 90s.

  50. Taylor-Marie Curnow
    Panzance railway station. Pic: Taylor-Marie Curnow

    took this picture of Penzance railway station submerged in water. Her friend Lauren Bull tweeted “the road is the only way out #penzance”.

  51. Nick James

    from East Budleigh in Devon comments: Just had some huge wind gusts through for the last 30 mins. We briefly lost power and afterwards thought having watched all the events unfold on the news we should have have torches and candles at the ready. Good luck to everybody.”

  52. 19:47:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles chairs a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee and vows to deploy further police and military personnel “where needed”. He adds: “Work also continues to keep our road and rail networks operating.”

  53. 19:27:
    Kingsand is hit by a huge wave

    In Kingsand in Cornwall, the BBC’s Alison Johns says the waves are “monstrous” and properties have been flooded along the seafront.

  54. 19:15:

    All train services west of Plymouth are cancelled for the rest of the day, and there will be no replacement buses. First Great Western says coach companies have refused to run rail replacement services in Cornwall due to the “unsafe” conditions.

  55. 18:57:

    Military teams from RNAS Culdrose have helped put sand bags in place for people in Bude, Helston and Penzance. The 30 personnel remain in the towns to help with potential coastal flooding, Cornwall Council said. There have been reports of flooding in Newlyn and Looe.

  56. 18:57:

    Trains between Plymouth and Penzance have been suspended because of strong winds, First Great Western has said.

  57. 18:38: Mike from Kent

    emails: I run a petrol station and have been warned by my oil supplier that companies which rely on oil tankers could experience a shortage soon because the tankers are unable to dock in these storms. They can’t risk crashing on the rocks. This is going to cause a delay in the supply system. We have already run dry and in my experience, which is more than 40 years in the industry, a backlog like this can take days to sort out. The oil should have arrived yesterday but it hasn’t.

  58. 18:38:

    The Environment Agency issues another severe flood warning. This one, the seventh to be issued in recent hours for the south coast of England, is for West Bay Harbour in Dorset.

  59. 18:33:

    Devon and Cornwall Police tweets: “Please avoid Plymouth Hoe. Dangerous conditions to due the storm.”

  60. 18:25:

    There is still widespread disruption to UK train services, and Network Rail is advising customers to check before travelling.

  61. 18:19:

    The Energy Networks Association tweets: “16,092 customers off supply currently, mostly in North Wales. 572,291 restored across the UK”.

  62. 18:19: Eddy van Hattum from Staines

    emails: Sandbags? What sandbags? We’ve been on the waiting list for several days now and so have our elderly neighbours. Oh, and by the way, the emergency council number gets us through to voicemail with a message saying the voicemail box is full.

  63. 18:11: First Capital Connect

    have tweeted trains between East Croydon and Gatwick Airport may be delayed by up to 30 minutes because of a landslip near Merstham

  64. 17:59:
    A trampoline stuck in a tree in Yeovil

    Strong winds blew a trampoline into a tree in Yeovil, Somerset earlier on Friday.

  65. 17:55:

    Southern Railway says a landslip at Oxted means that the line between Oxted and Woldingham is closed. It will not reopen until 18 February at the earliest.

  66. 17:54: Environment Agency officer Dave Throup

    You would not believe the conditions in #Worcester at the moment. wheelie bin just bounced over the top of my bonnet.

  67. 17:52:

    In Kingsand, Cornwall, the BBC’s Alison Johns says the waves are “monstrous” and properties have been flooded along the seafront.

    She says: “At the moment, even though the waves are pounding the clock tower, it is still standing and everyone is holding their breath.”

  68. 17:48: Tahira Jabeen

    emails ‘storm hitting us in Birmingham’

  69. 17:31: Robert Burgess, France

    emails: This would be a great time for the government to start a crash programme of building reservoirs.

  70. 17:31:

    Live flood warning updates for England and Wales can be found on this Environment Agency map.

  71. 17:30:

    Hambledon, Hampshire, has suffered from floods for 40 days now. The BBC News website has been reporting on how its residents are coping.

  72. 17:29: Shakir Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association
    Clearing up in Staines

    emailed this picture of the army and volunteers clearing up in Staines.

  73. 17:29: Cornwall Council

    There are reports of fallen trees and surface water flooding on many roads in Cornwall – please take care when driving home #ccfloods

  74. 17:28:

    Water, water everywhere… take a look at the day in pictures on the BBC News website.

  75. 17:15:

    And now for some slightly better news. The Met Office says after Friday’s stormy weather, conditions will improve during Saturday.

    Sunday will be largely dry, but more rain is forecast for Monday – albeit less intense than it has been in recent days.

  76. 17:11:
    The BBC's Chris Eakin in Somerset

    The BBC’s Chris Eakin tries not to get blown away as he reports from on top of a flood defence wall in East Lyng, Somerset. It is thought 40mm of rain fell in six hours there earlier today.

  77. 17:08:
    Weather forecast map

    BBC Weather tweets this picture showing what the weather is going to look like in an hour’s time.

  78. 16:53:

    The number of less severe flood warnings and alerts from the Environment Agency has been creeping up. The total now stands at 479.

  79. 16:49: David, Datchet, Berkshire

    emails: It’s really fantastic to see the organised support today. Unfortunately, in Datchet on Monday, along with too many others I worked the whole day with brilliant neighbours to save our road, with little if any ‘official’ help. So, watching the support today is somewhat bitter sweet.

  80. 16:47:

    The RNLI says it is now helping with the flood relief effort in West Berkshire – lifeboat station volunteers are providing advice and support.

  81. 16:44:
    A woman with umbrella in Worcester

    Well, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day…

  82. 16:41: Charlie Cobb, Shepperton

    emails: Due to the flooding in the local area, my road has an imminent prospect of sewage flooding our roads and houses. Thames water are refusing to empty drains and they won’t even answer our phone calls as they will only talk to us when it is to late.

  83. 16:40:
    Sandbags in Staines-upon-Thames

    This picture, showing sandbags placed in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, will be an all-too familiar sight for many readers in flood-hit areas.

  84. 16:35:

    BBC News website readers have been sending in their pictures showing how they have been affected by flooding.

  85. The warning covers the areas of Mudeford, Stanpit, the Quomps and Wick, the Environment Agency said.

  86. 16:30:

    Another severe flood warning has been put in place by the Environment Agency, bringing the total to 23. The latest is for Christchurch Harbour Side, Dorset.

  87. 16:29: Sarah Mitchell
    Flooded fields near Exeter

    tweeted this picture of flooding in Exeter, taken at midday

  88. 16:28:
    A man struggling to hold an umbrella in Ballymena

    This man in Ballymena, County Antrim, doesn’t seem to be having much luck with his umbrella as he battles against the strong winds and rain.

  89. 16:23:

    National Rail has a full picture of service disruptions across the rail network on its website.

  90. 16:14:

    Some more travel news – train operator East Coast is advising customers to make journeys as soon as they can on Friday evening. All its ticket restrictions are being lifted from 16:45 GMT until the end of the day.

  91. 16:13: Mike Hughes, Helston, Cornwall

    emails: So much for free sandbags! I’ve just been told that people are being charged £3 per bag at the boating lake in Helston.

  92. 16:10:

    Sandbags or flood boards – what’s the best way to protect your house? Vanessa Barford examines the options.

  93. 16:09:
    Soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles working in Staines-upon-Thames

    Soldiers from C Company, Royal Gurkha Rifles have been helping put a dam in place in Staines-upon-Thames to direct flood water away from housing.

  94. 16:05: Ben Niblett
    People sorting clothes. Pic: Ben Niblett

    Ben Niblett tweeted this picture of volunteers at St Paul’s church in Egham Hythe, sorting spare clothing for people who have been flooded out.

  95. 16:05:
    Resident Derrick Foxwell attempts to dislodge his boat that had become stuck on its mooring outside his house the Thames

    Resident Derrick Foxwell attempts to dislodge his boat that had become stuck on its mooring outside his house by the Thames.

  96. 16:03:

    The Energy Networks Association has clarified information given out during the earlier government briefing, saying the 17,000 homes without power are in North Wales, not north-west England.

  97. 16:01: Heather Griffiths, Falkirk

    emails: The people of the United Kingdom should get together to set up a money fund to donate money for the flood victims. It’s great the government are now doing something. But we as one nation should pull together in this terrible crisis.

  98. 16:01:
    A woman and her dog go for a walk in Central Park

    The UK isn’t the only place being affected by severe weather – a giant winter storm is unleashing a second wave of heavy snowfall on the US north-east.

  99. 16:01: Tom Hurley:
    Flooded car park in Exmouth

    from Devon, sent this photo to He jokes: ” Exmouth: where we’re good enough to provide lifeguard facilities for flooded car parks.”

  100. 16:00: James Kelly

    tweets from Devon: Sent home from work early due to flooding which means holiday!!!

  101. 16:00:

    As we approach the Friday rush hour, those travelling on South West Trains may want to take a look at their latest updates to see how services are running. There are delays of up to an hour on some routes.

  102. 16:00: A text from an anonymous user

    raises concerns about sewage treatment: The BBC are doing a good job broadcasting about the floods but nothing has been mentioned about the sewage in the flooded areas. Can the treatment plants cope with all this water?

  103. 15:57: James Anderson

    has sent the BBC this picture of flooding in Newton Abbot, Devon.

    Flooding in Newton Abbot. Pic: James Anderson
  104. 15:57: Tony Fuse, in Gellilydan, Gwynedd, Wales:

    emails: We had a power cut here for 30 hours. Many trees fallen in the area. Power back on at 21:00 last night. Still no mobile signal yet. Very eery driving through Porthmadog in total darkness on Wednesday night. Its relentless though, high winds and rain lashing down again. I live 300ft above sea level so fortunate that flooding will not happen. There is a lot of surface water on the fields. Animals not having an easy time of it.

  105. 15:53:

    As well as the 22 severe flood warnings in place, the Environment Agency has issued a total of 443 less severe flood warnings and alerts.

  106. 15:47:
    Garron point on the Antrim coast, Northern Ireland

    This picture shows waves lashing Garron Point on the Antrim coast. The Met Office currently has severe weather warnings in place for snow and rain for Northern Ireland.

  107. 15:44: Tom Hurley
    Flooded car park. Pic: Tom Hurley

    sent this picture to the BBC of a flooded car park in Exmouth.

  108. 15:41:

    A government briefing on the severe weather has just ended. Just a reminder of what we heard:

    • There are 2,200 members of the armed forces committed to the relief effort, with a further 3,000 on standby
    • The military will help in the flood relief effort for as long as it is needed
    • There are more than 17,000 homes still without power in north-west England
    • The Environment Agency says the level of severe flood warnings – the most serious type – look set to rise along the south coast in the coming hours. There are currently 22 in place
    • More disruption is inevitable on the UK’s trains, Network Rail says
  109. 15:40:

    Mr Branson also thanks his staff dealing with incredibly difficult conditions, adding: “Particularly on our Virgin Trains routes, many staff were up until 3am for the past few nights helping get customers home. Some even drove them back in their own cars.”

  110. 15:39:

    Virgin Trains boss Richard Branson thanks passengers in the UK “for their kindness and patience during some understandably disrupted services”. In a statement posted on Twitter, he says he is sorry for the delays and he hopes people are coping.

  111. 15:33:

    “The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will chair today’s Cobra,” a No 10 spokesman said. “The prime minister has been visiting flood affected areas for much of today and he will chair Cobras over the weekend.”

  112. 15:32:

    Back at the briefing, Maj Gen Sanders outlines how the armed forces have been helping communities: “We’re taking children to school in the morning. We’re helping elderly people in and out of their houses when they’re flooded.

    “We’re helping people with their shopping and their local needs. We’ve even had vehicle mechanics from the Household Cavalry who have rescued a swan.”

  113. 15:30:

    Downing Street confirms the government’s emergency committee will meet to discuss the floods at 17:30 GMT.

  114. 15:29:

    The Environment Agency has added another severe flood warning – this time in Chiswell on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset. There are now 22 in total.

  115. 15:28:

    Maj Gen Sanders: “The armed forces are on an enduring operational footing to fight the impact of these floods and will do it for as long as we’re needed – however, wherever and in whatever way we can.”

  116. 15:25:
    Maj Gen Patrick Sanders

    Maj Gen Sanders also thanks volunteers from the community who are helping in the relief effort. He adds that Environment Agency staff who are working around the clock “deserve a bit of credit for what they’re doing”.

  117. 15:22: Breaking News

    About 2,200 sailors, soldiers and airmen – regulars and reserves – are committed to this effort, and there are a further 3,000 on standby to respond within two hours, says Maj Gen Patrick Sanders, assistant chief of defence staff.

  118. Warren Drake

    tweets: Working near Melksham. Wind has really picked up now. This is horrendous. Seems Stronger gusts than Weds storm.

  119. 15:19:

    Mr Glover adds: “The debris that flew around in the North West was quite incredible and the impact it had on the electricity networks has resulted in a level of devastation that I don’t think has ever been seen in the area, certainly not for decades.”


    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News
    Peter Willison

    Environment Agency say more flooding to come, won’t be drawn on job cuts.

  121. 15:14:

    Twenty-one severe flood warnings have now been issued by the Environment Agency – the latest two are for the south Devon coast from Exmouth to Lyme Regis and from Start Point to Dawlish Warren.

  122. 15:12:
    Tony Glover

    Tony Glover, director of policy at the Energy Networks Association, says that when some engineers went out to fix power lines, the wind was so strong they couldn’t open the doors of their vans.

  123. 15:09: Breaking News

    Tony Glover, director of policy at the Energy Networks Association, says the impact of the storms in the North West of England has been “nothing less than devastation”. More than 17,000 people are still without power, he says.

  124. 15:05:

    Peter Willison, programme director for the Environment Agency, tells the briefing: “We are likely to see more severe flood warnings along the south coast, representing the risk from very strong and big waves.”

  125. 15:04:

    A severe flood warning has just been issued for Lymington and Keyhaven, including Pitts Deep and Sowley, on the Solent, Hampshire, taking the total now in place to 19.

  126. 15:03:

    A news briefing on the government’s response to the severe weather has just kicked off.

  127. 15:00:

    Firefighters on the Somerset Levels are asking parents to keep children away from flood water. Station manager Kevin Hardwill, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, says: “Unsupervised children and water do not mix.”

  128. 14:57: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News
    Map from govt flood response briefing
    Map from govt flood response briefing

    Maps from the government’s flood response briefing.

  129. 14:50:
    A submerged flood warning sign in Worcester
    This is the scene in Worcester
    This is the scene in Worcester

    This is the scene in Worcester. See our picture gallery for more images from around the UK.

  130. 14:47:
    Severe flood warning

    A severe flood warning indicates flooding is expected and immediate action is required. The latest alert means the total now stands at 18.

  131. 14:45:

    There is now a severe flood warning for Cornwall, extending from Lands End to Plymouth excluding Truro and Plymouth Barbican.

  132. 14:40:

    Chris Bainger, of the Environment Agency, tells the BBC News Channel it’s not just today’s rainfall poses a threat. “Any rain we get after this flood period is certainly going to have an impact on us and it will have to be managed.”

  133. 14:37:
    Prince Harry helps with flood defences in the centre of Datchet
    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge leaves a meeting with flood planners

    Graham Leaver, clerk at Datchet Parish Council, says of princes William and Harry: “They were very involved and wanting to know what was going on. They were very natural. To be honest, they could have walked in among people here and nobody would have recognised them looking at the way they were dressed.” He adds that the support from the Army in general has been “absolutely excellent”.

  134. 14:35:

    An internal consultation on job cuts within the Environment Agency has been delayed. It comes after the prime minister dismissed claims that several hundred posts would go from flood-related teams.

    A consultation with staff on which jobs would go was due to start on 1 April but has been put on hold while the agency deals with the current flood crisis. Programme director Toby Willison says: “We are prioritising incident response above all other work.”

  135. 14:33:

    Scottish Power says 4,000 customers have lost power today in mid and north Wales as a result of the latest poor weather. Earlier, Scottish Power said another 12,000 customers were still without power as a result of Wednesday’s storm.

    Meanwhile, Western Power Distribution has confirmed that all power supplies have been restored to customers in south and west Wales and operations have been back to normal for several hours.

  136. Jesse Brabery:

    emails: The wind is really picking up in St Agnes, in Cornwall. Going to be a very rough afternoon here.

  137. 14:28:
    A  river level assessment team make their way towards flooded houses next to the Thames River
    A river level assessment team make their way towards flooded houses next to the Thames River
    A river level assessment team make their way towards flooded houses in Shepperton in Spelthorne, Surrey

    A river level assessment team make their way towards flooded houses in Shepperton in Spelthorne, Surrey.

  138. Edward Dennis, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire:

    emails: Three cheers for the Yorkshire farmers who have donated animal feed, bedding and just as important their time to the poor souls down south who are under metres of flood waters. However, one would have thought that at least one of Britain’s multimillion pound haulage companies could have stepped in and offered to deliver it.

  139. 14:14:

    Here’s the latest on flood warnings for England and Wales. There are:

    • 17 severe flood warnings – indicating danger to life – in place
    • There are 148 flood warnings – indicating flooding is expected and immediate action is required
    • 259 flood alerts are in place, meaning flooding is possible, be prepared

    For a full list, updated every 15 minutes, check here.

  140. 14:08::
    Prince William and Prince Harry in Datchet

    The two princes looked a little bedraggled as they wandered through Chertsey while joining in the flood relief effort.

  141. 14:06:
    Princes William and Harry in Datchet

    Some more pictures are coming in of princes William and Harry helping out in Datchet. Here’s Harry throwing a sandbag to his older brother as they help with flood defences near a school.

  142. 14:05: Sitala Peek BBC News

    There has been a landslide between Leamington Spa and Banbury which is affecting rail travel there. It’s the Chiltern line services between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street.

  143. 14:02:

    In addition:

    • In Hampshire, members of the armed forces are helping people in Andover, Romsey and Basingstoke, whose homes have been flooded
    • Royal Marines from 40 Commando are working on the Somerset Levels and also in Alney Island, Gloucester
    • Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment are carrying out patrols in Worcester and Hereford
    • Members of the armed forces are also helping the Environment Agency repair flood defences on Chesil Beach, Dorset
  144. 14:00:

    Here’s where members of the armed forces are currently helping out:

    • About 100 members of 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are in Wraysbury, Berkshire
    • More than 300 military personnel are supporting residents elsewhere in the county, in Windsor, Datchet and Bisham
    • Members of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment are helping to place the “Aquadam” flood barrier in Chertsey
    • More than 360 members of 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and elements from both 19 and 47 Regiment Royal Artillery are helping out in Surrey by carrying out tasks including filling and distributing sandbags and erecting barriers
  145. 13:55:

    The bog fire in Borth is now out, say Natural Resources Wales. They say the damage is minimal, as the fire was restricted to the grass, rather than going down into the peat. The cause remains unconfirmed.

  146. Paul March. Poole

    emails to say he has reported flooding on a road close to his home five times in the past month, but has “been advised by Borough of Poole that I should visit Homebase or B&Q for sandbags as they don’t do them”. He adds: “Have loads of ref numbers but drain is still blocked, traffic still causes bow waves and the risk is still there but it’s self-help. What is it we pay taxes for? Say one thing and do another.”

  147. 13:50:

    More than 2,000 members of the armed forces have now been tasked with helping the flood relief efforts – with thousands more “at a high state of readiness”, the Ministry of Defence says.

  148. 13:47:
    Dutch pumps in action on the Somerset Levels

    High-volume pumps imported from the Netherlands are now pumping water from the flooded Somerset Levels in Dunball, north of Bridgwater, as this picture taken by the AA’s special operations response team shows.

  149. Alan Totham, Snodland, Kent

    emails: I have a horrible feeling that all the families and businesses that have suffered from the floods are going suffer even more heartache when they put their insurance claims in. With the amount of money involved the insurance companies are going to wriggle and squirm all they can to prolong the need to pay out. The government needs to ensure now that this situation will not arise and legislate if necessary so all claimants will be paid immediately, then they can return their lives to some sort of normality as soon as is possible.

  150. Marc Newman

    has just sent this picture from Shepperton Lock.

    Flooding at Shepperton Lock. Photo: Marc Newman

    It was taken just outside the Thames Court pub, which has also been flooded, explains Marc.

    “The sign and bench is usually a grassed area overlooking the Thames and is usually filled with customers from the pub. The water levels here at Shepperton have dropped around a foot overnight but with the expected rain fall it’s likely to go back up.”

  151. National Rail

    Line between Machynlleth and Barmouth / Aberystwyth is now open – buses still running between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury #DoveyJunction

  152. BBC Travel

    Roses are red

    Violets are blue

    There’s no Woolwich Ferry

    Due to high tides

  153. Shaun Moore
    Floods at Gloucester docks

    emailed this photo, taken earlier today, of flooding at Gloucester Docks overlooking Alney Island.

  154. 13:31:

    A bit more detail on the pensioner who has died after being hit by a falling tree in Wednesday’s storm.

    Bob Thomas, 77, was with his wife gathering their hens at his home in Caethro, Caernarfon, when a tree fell and hit him. He was taken to hospital in Bangor before being transferred to a special unit in Stoke, where he died.

  155. Jon Kay West of England correspondent

    400 years after the Dutch cleared the Somerset levels of water, their pumps and TV crews are back here seeing how things have changed…

  156. Breaking News

    Man, 77, from Caernarfon, north Wales, dies in hospital after being hit by falling tree in garden during Wednesday’s storm.

  157. Met Office Storms

    Recent wind gusts 79mph Isles of Scilly and 74mph Camborne, Cornwall. #wind #ukstorm

  158. 13:25:
    A message in a window on Alney Island, Gloucester

    This defiant message was posted in the window of a house on Alney Island, Gloucester.

  159. Patricia Mulcahy, Henley on Thames, Oxon

    emails: Travelled by train to London Paddington and back every day this week – signalling problem between Twyford and Maidenhead occurred on Monday, but FGW/Network Rail seem unable to formulate any kind of plan. Train operators say only five trains an hour can be allowed through – so why send EMPTY trains through when there are passengers standing on platforms? We are told it is necessary to get the trains back to Paddington but it just seems a no-brainer to allow passengers to board empty trains.

  160. Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet. Never walk through flood water. #Floodaware #ukfloods

  161. Virgin Trains

    Overhead line issues are causing delays between #Manchester & #Stockport. Disruption is expected until 1500

  162. Bruce Hammersley took this picture of a flooded meadow in Witney, Oxfordshire

    Bruce Hammersley took this picture of a flooded meadow in Witney, Oxfordshire.

  163. 13:14:

    West Mercia Police are putting on extra patrols in Worcestershire to try to prevent flood-hit homes being targeted by burglars or looters. Officers and PCSOs will be present in affected areas, including Upton-upon-Severn and Diglis, in Worcester.

  164. Leslie Jarrett, Colnbrook, Slough, Berkshire

    emails: Here in Colnbrook things are much better than a few days ago. However the local council have advised us all to keep the sandbags ready just in case the local streams start to flood again. We are hoping that we can get past this weekend without any flooding or minimal water on the roads and not in houses, etc.

  165. 13:11:
    The Hive building in Worcester

    The gold-coloured Hive in Worcester, which describes itself as Europe’s first joint university and public library, is now being lapped by flood waters, as this picture taken on Thursday by the aerial survey team from Environment Agency Geomatics shows.

  166. Sheila Tarleton, Sheffield

    emails: Those of us living on higher ground should consider our home comforts, then dig deep in our pockets to help those who have lost theirs in the floods.

  167. Liane Pedro

    emailed her concerns for BBC reporters: Please, please, please give some hats to your guys out in the field covering the flooding. I feel so bad that they have to stay out in the rain and wind providing us with updates about the floods.

  168. John Chrimes:
    Flooded garden, Devon

    emailed this photo of his flooded garden in Ashburton, Devon, which was taken earlier today.

  169. Greg Sochanik in Devon

    tweets: Just had to don the waders and rescue my mother-in-law and her mini from a massive puddle, we’re now pretty much cut off! #ukfloods

  170. Energy Networks Association

    17,286 customers currently off supply. Number will fluctuate as repair work requires other customers to be cut off for short periods of time

  171. 13:04:

    BBC Weather forecaster Peter Gibbs says the band of rain hitting southern England is pushing northwards – and that “most of the UK will get a wet spell”. Strong winds will become more of a problem into Friday evening with gusts of up to 80mph in some areas, possibly leading to coastal flooding, he adds.

    There is some good news on the horizon however – Sunday is set to be drier, brighter and with lighter winds, says the forecaster.

  172. 13:01:

    Mr Willison praises the work of Environment Agency staff in tackling the floods as “incredible” and says: “”We are prioritising incident response above all other work.

    “With this in mind, we are reviewing the timetable for the Environment Agency’s change programme and will not be entering a formal consultation with staff until the current flooding has subsided.”

    The Environment Agency adds that the government is spending over £2.3bn on the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

  173. Eagle Radio in Guildford
    The flood barrier is erected inn Chertsey

    tweets: FLOODING: The controversial flood barrier in #Chertsey, known as ‘The Sausage’ is beginning to be erected

  174. 12:56:

    On the issue of job cuts, the Environment Agency says it will reduce staff numbers from 11,250, the staffing level there will be at the end of March, to about 9,700 by October. Toby Willison, the Environment Agency’s programme director, says: “The planned reductions in posts will not affect the Environment Agency’s ability to respond to flooding incidents and the Environment Agency will minimise the impact on other front line services through the changes.”

  175. 12:54:

    After the disastrous 2007 floods that swamped 55,000 homes, the government commissioned the Pitt Review to ensure it didn’t happen again. BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin looks what has been done since – and what hasn’t.

  176. J. Broom
    Flooding in Tilshead, Wiltshire

    emailed us this picture of flooding in Tilshead in Wiltshire which was taken earlier today.

  177. 12:41:
    Corporal James Jones of the RAF

    Corporal James Jones of the RAF, speaking from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, said members of the public have been “very welcoming” and “very supportive” of assistance from the armed forces. Asked if it was good to have help from Princes William and Harry, he replied: “Absolutely.”

  178. Ez, Penmaenmawr

    texts: We are being BATTERED by wind again right now.

  179. 12:37:

    James Winslade, a Somerset-based farmer, tells the BBC he is still struggling to cope with flooding. He says: “Logistically it’s really hard work… just trying to get food to all the animals.” It will take two to three months to get all the water off his farm – and even longer to get all the repair work done.

  180. 12:35:
    Jonathan Beale inside the RAF Sentinel spy plane

    BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale joined the crew of the RAF’s most sophisticated spy plane as it swapped war zones for flood-hit Britain. “This is personal,” one sergeant tells him.

  181. 12:29:

    Several ferry crossings have been cancelled, @BBCTravelSW tweets. All sailings of the St Mawes Passenger Ferry in Cornwall are cancelled, and in Devon neither the Cremyll Ferry nor the Teignmouth to Shaldon Ferries are running. Friday night’s 22:00 GMT Brittany Ferries sailing from Plymouth to Roscoff has been cancelled too.

  182. 12:26:
    Princes Harry and William shift sandbags in Datchet, Berkshire

    And here is the video of the two princes at work in Datchet, Berkshire. The Guardian said the pair formed part of a human chain shifting sandbags from an army truck and on to a railway wagon.

  183. Louise, Newbury, Berks

    emails: Just want to say how wonderful it is to hear that Prince William and Harry are helping practically with the flood relief. More than can be said for those that wander round in suits and hard hats just observing!!

  184. Rachel, Derby

    emails: Really feel for everyone affected by the relentless weather. I know my thoughts are with you. Myself and a colleague doing all we can to raise money for the Devon flood fund.

  185. 12:14:

    Prime Minister David Cameron was in Blackpool, Lancashire, this morning to see areas affected by the storms. He promised he would “fight at every front to help people”. In the past hour, it emerged that princes William and Harry have been helping unload sandbags in flood-hit Berkshire.

  186. 12:12:

    As we move into the afternoon, heavy rain and strong winds are hitting southern England yet again. The Environment Agency still has 17 severe flood warnings in place, with 136 less severe flood warnings and 246 flood alerts. The Met Office has issued amber “be prepared” warnings for wind for eastern England, south-west England and London and south-east England. There is also an amber warning for rain in place in the South-West.

  187. 12:06:
    The closed A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge

    In Somerset, the A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge remains shut – this picture shows the point where the road turns into a new river.

  188. 12:01:

    “The government should require train operators to declassify first-class carriages in the event of service delays or cancellations due to severe weather, to ease overcrowding and ensure more passengers reach their destinations,” adds Ms Creagh.

  189. 11:59:

    Mary Creagh, shadow transport secretary, speaking ahead of a visit to Berkshire later, has called for improvements to the way rail passengers are informed about compensation claims over weather-related disruptions. She also urged better real-time information for passengers about delays and cancellations.

  190. 11:50:
    Prince William and Prince Harry help with the relief effort in Datchet

    Princes William and Harry help with the relief effort in Datchet.

  191. 11:49: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    The Greens have called for a purge of senior government advisers and ministers who do not share the party’s views on climate change. The Green Party says any senior adviser who refused to accept “the scientific consensus on climate change” should be sacked. Leader Natalie Bennett said: “We also can’t have anyone in the cabinet who is denying the realities that we’re facing with climate change.”

  192. 11:47:
    A Valentine's Day message from the Environment Agency

    Here’s a flood-related Valentine’s Day message from the Environment Agency North West, which they posted on Twitter

  193. David Woodcock, in Berkshire:

    texts: I run an office in Theale right by the canal. We got a knock on the door from a local police officer at 15:00 yesterday saying they were evacuating the business park as rapidly rising flood waters may mean we would be stranded overnight. I thought this was excellent work from the local authorities. With around 400 people working on the business park this was a great call. Not great for business but our company are lucky as we are all able to work from home but others aren’t as fortunate.

  194. 11:38:

    A spokesman from Kensington Palace said: “They wanted to show their support for the flood victims and have joined the armed forces relief effort.”

  195. 11:31:

    The Windsor Observer reports the princes arrived with the Household Cavalry at Datchet Golf Club at about 07:00 GMT. The paper snapped pictures of the royals at work on the rail line, next to Datchet station.

  196. 11:25:

    The Guardian reported that William approached its reporter reported that William approached its reporter, asking: “Why don’t you put your notebook down and give us a hand with the sandbags?” But when Booth offered to help, he was told he was not wearing the right kind of clothing for the task.

  197. 11:24:

    Princes William and Harry have been helping soldiers unload sandbags in Datchet, Berkshire. Guardian reporter Robert Booth said he stumbled upon the royal duo while covering the flooding clear-up operation.

  198. Met Office Storms

    Rainfall totals of 34.2mm at Harbertonford, South Devon and 24.2mm at Plymouth so far today. Rain now moving north and east.

  199. 11:16:

    London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Firefighters have been working round the clock throughout the last few days to pump water away from the [Kenley] facility and protect it from flooding. The waterworks supplies tens of thousands of homes in the area so our crews are working extremely hard to bring this incident to a quick and safe conclusion.”

  200. 11:11:

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage has called for a public inquiry into the way the Environment Agency has acted. “I want to know who was giving the Environment Agency their orders. Why were they not dredging the rivers, particularly in Somerset, when this time last year they were being screamed at to do so?” he told BBC News.

  201. 11:07:

    Gardens are being flooded and manholes lifted by the force of floodwater in Colebrook, near Plymouth, residents say. Colebrook flooded six times in 2012 and some residents were forced from their homes for up to six months. Work was due to start on a major scheme to protect the village later this month.

  202. Matt Duggan in Chertsey

    tweets: #chertseyflood #chertsey #flood #sandbags plenty available at the church if you need them – bring a spade

    Sandbags being made in Chertsey Surrey
  203. Stuart Brill, in Egham, Surrey:

    texts: Just watching Cameron from a hotel as we have had to leave our flooded home. The only help we have received was three sandbags from a group of volunteers to keep out thigh deep water. The military have shown up in front of the TV cameras but have not assisted in any way even when approached directly.

  204. 11:02:

    Matt Wrack, leader of the Fire Brigades Union, who is visiting flood-hit areas in the South West, says firefighters are reporting shortages of manpower and equipment because of spending cuts.

    “Shortages of both people and equipment are proving real problems, with some fire services refusing requests to send equipment elsewhere in case it is needed in their own areas,” he says. “Despite incredible claims that money is no object, fire and rescue services urgently need more resources to cope with such challenging conditions.”

  205. 10:59:

    The London Fire Brigade says it has sent help and resources to assist other UK fire and rescue services. Including:

    • Three fire engines, three fire rescue units and a command unit to Berkshire
    • Specialist senior officers to help Oxfordshire and Surrey fire and rescue services
    • Firefighters at water treatment works in Kenley, Croydon, which is under threat of flooding. Eight fire engines and over 60 firefighters are at the scene, along with three high-volume pumps. They expect to be there for the next two days

    10:57: Phil Mackie News Correspondent
    Gloucester flooding

    The wall holding back the water at Alney Island #Gloucester, immediate danger over. #floods

  207. Garry Vaux

    tweets: Roses are red, The violets are in mud, The garden is ruined, Because of the flood, #ValentinesDay #floods

  208. Karl Timmins in Torbay

    tweets: Starting to wonder if there might be a real life Noah somewhere. I have a new river in my area today. #floods

  209. 10:54:

    David Cameron says he welcomes support from businesses who are offering help “to get parts of the country get back on their feet”. Some supermarkets have set up flood relief funds, while others are donating food parcels. Many companies are also organising volunteers to help in the effort.

  210. National Rail

    Buses are replacing trains between #Liskeard and #Looe from approximately 11:00 because of flooding on the line #UKStorm

  211. 10:48: Jon Kay West of England correspondent
    Jon Kay pic

    Environment Agency says Gloucester has “dodged a bullet” this high tide. But tonight may still be dodgy.

  212. Trebah Garden, Cornwall

    Trebah is an island! The Garden and Visitor Centre are CLOSED today as all roads to us are badly flooded. Hopefully we will be open tomorrow

  213. 10:44:
    Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue
    Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue's Spalding team are working in Cookham, Berkshire, this morning

    Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s Spalding team are working in Cookham, Berkshire, this morning.

  214. 10:37:
    Stav Danaos

    Rain is really making itself felt right across south-west England, says BBC Weather forecaster Stav Danaos. Up to 40mm could fall in some places, he adds.

  215. Devon and Cornwall Police

    Kings Street in Plymouth is also closed due to flooding. Police are on scene.

  216. National Rail
  217. 10:26:
    Prime Minister David Cameron inspecting damage to a property in Blackpool, Lancashire

    The PM is inspecting damage to property on his visit to storm-hit homes in Blackpool.

  218. Cara Turnbull, in Aston, Nantwich, Cheshire:

    emails: We haven’t had electricity or heating since Wednesday afternoon because falling trees have brought down power lines. We have been left in the cold and in the dark.

  219. 10:23:
    Prime Minister David Cameron inspecting damage to a property in Blackpool, Lancashire

    The first pictures of David Cameron visiting storm-hit residents in Blackpool, Lancashire, are coming in to us. He earlier said he was “very sorry” for the suffering caused by the extreme weather.

  220. 10:22: Michael Hirst BBC News

    Coastal towns in England’s South West are hoping the February half term will bring an influx of visitors, and much-needed revenue, after a stormy start to 2014. “Just because the train line’s down doesn’t mean we’re closed for business,” Mayor Terry Lowther says.

  221. Robin White, in Dorset:

    emails: I live in Dorset and the amount of people who have been cut off and have needed extra support through this and going that extra mile to get the things they need to survive shows just how great this country is.

  222. 10:21:

    Chris Bainger, from the Environment Agency in Gloucester, told the BBC News Channel: “We’re feeling fairly confident this morning. We might have gone through that phase where the tidal influence that might overtop these defences has gone away but it will be back again tonight in 12 hours’ time so we need to remain very vigilant. The severe warning for here will remain in place and people mustn’t drop their guard.”

  223. 10:17:
    Fire in Borth

    Earlier we reported an eyewitness account of a fire on bogland in Borth, Ceredigion. Here’s the first picture from the scene. Fire crews say the blaze covers about a hectare (2.5 acres) of land.

  224. 10:15:
    Engineers fix power lines

    Wales has been worst affected in terms of power cuts caused by the hurricane-force winds on Wednesday. About 13,500 properties in mid and north Wales are still without electricity, ScottishPower says. In south and west Wales, 370 homes were still cut off, according to Western Power Distribution.

  225. BBC Weather

    Any end in sight? Our longer range forecast indicates that the stormy weather pattern should begin to lose intensity next week.

    Not a promise that it will be completely dry during next week – but we should lose the deluges and damaging winds.

  226. National Rail

    The line between #Truro and #Falmouth Docks has reopened. First departures will be 10:20 from Truro and 10:20 from Falmouth Docks #UKStorm

  227. 10:03:

    The BBC helicopter has been out along the Thames – we’ll bring you the latest pictures as they come into us.

  228. Rob, in Birmingham:

    comments on Will Burton’s previous email, he says: Wasn’t local drainage boards abolished by the last government and their function merged into the Environment Agency? I agree that they would be a very good idea. Their powers before were excellent in protecting the countryside from flooding. They also had the power to object to building on floodplains!

  229. Environment Agency SW

    The country has faced an extraordinary combination of weather conditions over the last six weeks and there is more to come. #floodaware

  230. 09:54: Chris Eakin BBC presenter
    Flooded house in Lyng, Somerset

    says the lines of sandbags outside people’s homes in the village of East Lyng, Somerset, “look a bit pitiful” compared with the vast expanse of flooding they are there to guard against.

  231. Heathrow Airport

    @HeathrowExpress & LDN Underground are operating as normal but weather is affecting @nationalrailenq. Other options.

  232. Met Office Storms

    Two phase UK weather today. Heavy rain at times in the day for many areas, but strongest winds in the south this evening and overnight.

  233. National Rail

    Buses will be running between #Truro and #Falmouth Docks from approx 10:00. Devon & Cornwall buses accepting tickets on route 88 #UKStorm

  234. 09:48:
    Max Ayres, of Hatch Green Coaches, with Chris Eakin

    Max Ayres, of Hatch Green Coaches, has been helping people in the flood-hit community of East Lyng, Somerset, by offering a shuttle service between the village and towns such asTaunton. He’s been living in the area since the 1990s, and tells the BBC’s Chris Eakin: “I don’t recall it ever flooding when they were dredging. The last few years they’ve stopped dredging and we’ve been getting floods.”

  235. June Bushell, in Crawley, West Sussex:

    emails: Our house was one of six to be the first flooded by the River Mole. The only reason we kept most of the water out was because we bought a pump between us. We have been in touch with the Environment Agency for a year but to no avail. I wish to thank the people of Ifield Green for spending the whole of Christmas Eve bailing us out with buckets and bins.

  236. Environment Agency SW

    We urge people to stay safe and not drive through flood water. People can also keep up to date on social media @EnvAgency, #floodaware.

  237. 09:39:

    Just a reminder that yellow and amber warnings of severe weather have been issued by the Met Office. There is a list of affected regions on its website.

  238. Western Power Distribution

    Our helicopter unit is patrolling the overhead lines around the #forestofdean today to check the overhead lines after the recent weather.

  239. 09:29: Jenny Hill BBC Breakfast News reporter, in Chertsey

    “It’s been a miserable time for many people, not just here in Surrey (pictured) but many communities across the UK.”

  240. Paula Trescothick in Cornwall

    tweets: To say it’s wet outside is an understatement. Need a boat and wetsuit to get about. #floods

  241. 09:24:

    Flooding between Lydney and Gloucester means that trains are currently unable to run between these stations, says National Rail. Buses have been requested, it says. Arriva Trains Wales passengers may use CrossCountry and First Great Western services to travel via Bristol Parkway.

  242. 09:22:

    Here’s the latest on flood warnings for England and Wales. There are:

    • 17 severe flood warnings – indicating danger to life – in place
    • There are 132 flood warnings – indicating flooding is expected and immediate action is required
    • 245 flood alerts are in place, meaning flooding is possible, be prepared
  243. Kessock Lifeboat

    Roses are red. Violets are blue. Beep didly beep beep. Beep didly beep beep. Sorry love that’s my pager. I am off, see you later. @RNLI

  244. 09:17:

    Trains between Truro and Falmouth Docks are currently suspended because of flooding – replacement buses are running, says National Rail.

  245. 09:16: Lyndsey Hancock:
    Flooded hallway in Buckinghamshire home

    from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire says: “We had to evacuate our house after it flooded last week. We are still living with our parents – seven of us in a three-bed house, including our two-year-old. Our insurance company have done nothing while our neighbours have been well cared for. Their insurance companies have helped repair their homes and put them up in a hotel.”

  246. BBC Weather

    We have already had 15mm of rain in the Isles of Scilly this morning and 17mm in the far southwest of Cornwall.

  247. 09:14: Sarah Ransome BBC News, in Plymouth
    Sarah Ransome in Hoe

    “It’s another day, another storm in the South West, and it’s only going to get worse as the day goes on.”

  248. 09:12:

    Paul Davies, of the Met Office, tells BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme there will be more rain next week, but “not of the same intensity or gravitas we’ve seen recently”.

  249. 09:08:

    Joe Wilcox, in Borth, tells the BBC the bog behind the coastal village, nine miles north of Aberystwyth, is on fire.

    “It’s still on fire and has been since 6.30am. I was in bed when I got a call from my mate about it. Loads of people are at the train station watching the fire. I could see it from the top of my house. There are a few fire engines there, but the fire’s not really threatening any houses. The winds may blow it toward the houses,” he says.

  250. Rob Holland, in Bristol:

    emails: The Environment Agency is to be cut by 15%, this is 1,700 people out of work, not 500 as the prime minister keeps saying. He has no idea what is going on.

  251. No 10 Press Office

    Want to help those affected by #floods or need help from volunteers? Visit @floodvolunteers #FloodHeroes

  252. 09:02:

    Please send your pictures and videos of the severe weather to or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International).

  253. 09:01:

    The 10,000 properties that had power restored overnight were spread across Wales and England, the ENA says.

  254. 09:00:

    This year’s extreme weather has caused severe flooding in parts of the UK but how does it compare with the floods of 2007 and 2000? BBC News Statistics analyst Anthony Reuben looks at the figures.

  255. 08:59: Breaking News

    16,000 properties are still without power – they are all in mid and north Wales, the Energy Networks Association says.

  256. 08:52: Sarah Jones BBC News, Berkshire

    says levels on the River Thames are still considered high in Berkshire. The Environment Agency says it is expecting a “steady” rise over the weekend, which could result in some property flooding. It has just started raining and children and parents are now trudging to school in their wellies.

  257. Will Burton:

    emails: Why have we not had any statements from local and national drainage boards are they not supposed to keep us dry and safe? Their contribution to the management of our country in the past has been great and largely unsung so let them now contribute in someway to the current situation after all surly this is what they are there for.

  258. 08:48:

    An 11-year-old boy has been rescued in Norfolk after getting stuck in mud up to his waist. Fire crews were called to a field in Hoveton just before 21:00 GMT and it took them 40 minutes to free him.

  259. BBC Weather

    Recent gust of 61mph at Camborne, Cornwall, accompanied by driving rain. The wind will continue to strengthen to storm force later today.

  260. 08:43:

    Alex Tribick, from the Spelthorne Business Forum, tells BBC Surrey: “Local currency has changed from the pound to the sandbag.”

  261. Vinny in Surrey:

    tweets: Never did I think moving to Egham would run this much a risk of flooding! It’s madness.

  262. Janet Murden, in Gloucestershire:

    emails: We need a service here that gets help to people trying to save their homes. My friends have been wading out and getting supplies for themselves and neighbours for weeks and now the river Severn levels are too high to do that and they themselves need a new pump, calor gas and food and don’t want to bother emergency services but need this to save their home! We can buy the supplies for them but cannot get hold of anyone to help deliver! Very frustrating and soul destroying for people who want to help themselves.

  263. 08:34:

    On the reported 550 job losses at the Environment Agency, Mr Cameron said in full: “Those have never been announced plans and those aren’t plans that are going to be put in place.

    “Of course, every organisation has to make sure it’s efficient but nothing will be done at the Environment Agency that will hamper our flood relief efforts and the chief executive has made that very clear.”

  264. 08:31:

    The president of the Chief Fire Officers Association, Paul Fuller, says people should be careful to protect themselves against the hidden dangers of flooding. “If you’re using equipment that is run by a motor, try and obtain a carbon monoxide detector. Some fire services will be able to give you one out of the equipment that they’ve got and that will just make sure that the atmosphere in the rooms and where you’re working doesn’t become dangerous from carbon monoxide,” he tells BBC Radio 5 live.

  265. 08:30:

    Mr Cameron also tells BBC Breakfast that redundancies at the Environment Agency have not been confirmed – and won’t be if they “hamper the relief effort”.

  266. 08:29: Jenny Hill BBC Breakfast News reporter, in Chertsey

    Bridge Road in Chertsey looks like any other suburban street. People walking dogs, early commuters driving to work. What tells you something’s wrong here though is a large dark plastic tube filled with water running the length of the street – a temporary flood defence. This – it’s hoped – will save 200 homes from flooding later today when predicted rain fall swells the already high and fast running Thames.

  267. 08:26:

    “There’s always more to be done – that’s why we’ve set out a huge flood defences investment programme over the next five years – and as I said yesterday we’re going to look at all the ways that we calculate how best to make this spending. But people should be in no doubt a lot of flood defence work has been done, more will be done, 1.2m homes have been protected by this flood defence work since Christmas but there’s always more we can do and we’ll do it,” Mr Cameron adds.

  268. 08:23:

    Mr Cameron says: “The review carried out after 2007 made some 90 recommendations. By the end of this year all but one of the recommendations that apply to the government will have been put in place. The only one that won’t have been put in place is to do with home improvement packs, which is a policy that we scrapped on coming to office.”

  269. 08:18:

    When asked if flood victims will be forgotten when the media coverage dies down, Mr Cameron says: “I don’t accept that – that is not fair on the last government or this government.”

  270. 08:16:
    David Cameron

    When asked if the response from politicians had been too slow, Mr Cameron says: “There’s always lessons to be learned and I’ll be very keen to learn them.”

  271. 08:14:

    Speaking from Blackpool, Mr Cameron says: “We’ve got to do everything we can to protect homes in the next 24 hours before the river rises again.”

  272. 08:13: Breaking News

    “It’s a massive national effort – we’ve got to fight on every front,” David Cameron tells BBC Breakfast.

  273. 08:13:
    Plymouth Hoe

    This is the scene at Plymouth Hoe, which is already being battered by heavy rain and high winds this morning.

  274. Paige Wilkinson:

    tweets: Wow torrential downpour in Plymouth #alwaysfabweather

  275. Sean Perry, in Ireland:

    tweets: Lower Main Street in #Ballyshannon now completely closed to traffic due to storm damage to town clock at Gallogleys. Use alternative routes.

  276. 08:03:
    Rower rescue

    The Port of London authority is warning rowers to be aware of dangerous conditions on the Thames. The RNLI has rescued 15 rowers from the water in recent days, including a rowing eight that became pinned sideways near Hammersmith Bridge. All of the rowers escaped unharmed.

  277. 08:02:

    “We actually saw people the other day on an open-backed white truck selling sandbags £60 for two,” says Mr Faulding. “A woman came up to me crying and said ‘I just been sold these sandbags, we’ve got no choice’ – there are unscrupulous people, the odd few trying to make money off the back of a very sad situation.”

  278. 08:01:

    Mr Faulding says: “It’s quite shocking when you see people crying and you go and get them out and people screaming from top windows, ‘Someone help me.’ It’s quite distressing really.”

  279. 08:00:

    Peter Faulding, head of Specialist Group International, which is working with Surrey Fire and Rescue providing rescue cover, says the organisation has rescued 150 people from their homes since Monday.

  280. 07:59:

    FGW says: “Network Rail has confirmed that floodwater is likely to continue to affect trackside signalling and safety equipment for some time. While they work to fix the problem we will only be able to run five trains an hour between Paddington and Reading in each direction. This is around a fifth of the services that would normally be scheduled.”

  281. 07:56:

    “We strongly advise customers not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary, and to consider alternative routes,” adds a statement on the FGW website. Ticket restrictions have been lifted across the network, it says.

  282. 07:55:
  283. BBC Weather

    After a calm night, the next vigorous low pressure is already on our doorstep, bringing a wet start to the southern half of the UK.

  284. 07:51:

    Mr Cameron is also set to appear on BBC Breakfast shortly after 08:00 GMT. We’ll keep you up to date with what he has to say.

  285. 07:49:

    Mr Cameron tells Daybreak that flood defences put in place since the “dreadful” 2007 floods have made a real difference. Many of those homes have not flooded again, he says, but there are further projects planned to help bolster defences. “I want to do all we can to protect as many homes, businesses and people as possible,” he adds.

  286. 07:43: Tomasz Schafernaker, BBC weather forecaster
    Weather graphic

    Satellite 07:15am shows storm has grown overnight. Weather will deteriorate in UK during today.

  287. 07:43:

    David Cameron, speaking from Blackpool, reiterates that in this flood relief effort: “We’ll spend what is necessary.”

  288. BBC Radio Devon

    Reports of snow over #Dartmoor & #Exmoor as well as heavy rain across much of the county.

  289. 07:41: Breaking News

    Prime Minister David Cameron tells ITV Daybreak: “I’m very sorry about any way that people have suffered,” adding that the government has tried to react as quickly as it can.

  290. BBC London 94.9
    Thames pic

    High Thames as Richmond wakes to reports of more rain forecast. The Council says they’re prepared #flooding

  291. 07:32:

    Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, tells BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme the current problems underline that the UK government should give a higher priority to preventing floods.

  292. 07:29:

    Heading into half-term week, there are real safety concerns in Surrey, says ACC Gavin Stephens. He urges parents not to play near floodwater, as it’s a “health and accident hazard”.

  293. 07:28:

    ACC Gavin Stephens says there are 150 officers on the streets of Surrey today – and they will remain there over the weekend. “We will do what ever is needed to help people,” he says. Some 53 roads are closed, he adds.

  294. 07:27:

    Surrey Assistant Chief Constable Gavin Stephens says 32 people have been rescued in the past 24 hours.

  295. 07:25:

    The latest on the situation in Surrey – 1,000 homes are flooded and 2,000 more have been visited with advice, police say.

  296. 07:22:
    Environment Agency flood risk manager Alison Baptiste

    Environment Agency flood risk manager Alison Baptiste also urges people to be prepared and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their property.

  297. 07:21:

    BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has been interviewing the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlstrom. “The science has been clear for decades already. We should have acted 10, 20 years ago. The science has been clear that climate variability is a driver of disaster for 40, 50 years,” she says.

  298. 07:18:

    Environment Agency flood risk manager Alison Baptiste, in Chertsey, Surrey, tells the BBC News Channel the agency is bringing in lots of defences, including 30,000 sandbags across the area.

  299. 07:16: Sarah Ransome BBC News
    Sarah Ransome

    tells the BBC News Channel the rain is pouring down in Plymouth and waves are already pounding the shoreline on the Hoe. Rain started to fall on the Isles of Scilly at about 05:00 GMT, and that heavy rain is now sweeping across Devon and Cornwall. Gusts of up to 25mph have been recorded off the coast.

  300. Sophie Ashley:
    A flooded street in Staines_on_Thames, Surrey

    emailed this photo to of her flooded street in Staines-on-Thames in Surrey. She says: “My husband took this picture around 03:00 after finishing the nightshift. If it wasn’t so sad it would be stunningly beautiful.”


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