Parts of Britain were warned ‘not to be complacent’ about the risk of flooding today as river levels remained ‘extremely high’ following the wettest February on record.
More than 170 Environment Agency flood alerts or warnings are still in place for the country with further rain and hill snow on the way for some areas after temperatures fell to -3C (27F).
However there are no longer any Met Office weather warnings in place for Britain and long-term forecasts for the middle of March suggest high pressure building, which could bring drier and calmer conditions.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual estimates it will pay out £37.5million for insurance claims across storms Ciara and Dennis over the past month, and it has had more than 5,000 claims for both so far.
Floodwater surrounds homes in Snaith, East Yorshire, as dozens of flood warnings are still in place for England today
Workmen clear debris from the road where floodwater has begun to recede this morning in Snaith, East Yorkshire
Floodwater surrounds the bungalow in which Kevin Lorryman lives in Snaith, East Yorkshire, this morning
Workers inspect floodwater on a railway line in the village of Snaith in East Yorkshire today
A shed floods on its side following severe flooding in the village of Snaith in East Yorkshire today
Dave Throup, EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said water levels in Worcester are ‘still creeping up very slowly’ and it was ‘going to be touch and go’ if main roads in the city could be kept open.
People living or working near the River Severn – which has been badly swollen over the past few weeks – were told ‘not to be complacent’, although temporary defences at flood-hit Ironbridge in Shropshire were ‘coping well’.
The River Severn’s level has been at about 3ft (1m) lower than last week, but Mr Throup added: ‘Although these aren’t the extreme levels we saw last week they are still extremely high and do present dangers.’
Meanwhile in East Yorkshire, locals in flood-hit Snaith have been angered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s refusal to visit flood areas. Around 4,300 properties across England and Wales have been hit as a result of storms.
During previous weather events, Storm Doris in 2017 saw £11.5million of insurance payouts, £36million for Storm Desmond in 2015, and £3million for the Yorkshire floods last November. Flood damage averages £20,000 a claim.
Showers will affect parts of Britain today (left) before heavier rain sweeps across from the West tomorrow (right)
More than 170 Environment Agency flood alerts or warnings are still in place for the country with further rain on the way
Kevin Lorryman outside his bungalow in Snaith, which is surrounded by floodwater this morning
A car submerged in floodwater in Snaith, East Yorkshire, as more than 160 flood warnings or alerts are still in place today
Floodwater has deliged properties in the village of Snaith in East Yorkshire today
Sheds are floating in the floodwater which has hit the East Yorkshire village of Snaith following heavy rainfall
Flooding damage around a house in the village of Snaith in East Yorkshire today
Aviva has seen a 285 per cent surge in calls and claims after the damage caused by Ciara. In December 2016, Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank hit areas of the UK and cost Direct Line up to £140million in claims.
How Britain could take advice from the Dutch on flood management
Britain could do worse than follows the example of the Dutch in their flood defences to avoid a repeat of the chaos over the past few weeks.
The Netherlands spends €362million (£315million) annually on the Dutch Flood Protection Programme, with around a quarter of the country below sea level.
The Oosterscheldekering, or Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, between Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland in the Netherlands
Keeping out the sea is a high priority for the Dutch, which has some of the world’s best sea defences such as a network of overlapping sluices, locks and barriers.
Flood management is a source of national pride in Holland which dates back to the country seeing it has a ‘collective’ responsibility following the 1953 floods in the country, which claimed nearly 2,000 lives.
Afsluitdijk, a major dam and causeway in the Netherlands, runs from Den Oever in North Holland to Zurich village in Friesland
Their defences would only be breached by a one-in-10,000-year storm, compared to London, the best protected place in the UK, which is only equipped for a one-in-1,000-year flood or tidal surge.
The Netherlands has 1,860 miles of outer-sea dykes and 6,200 miles of river dykes and canal walls, and these are constantly made bigger with newer technology, widening rivers and building floating homes.
The Maeslant barrier (Maeslantkering) on the Nieuwe Waterweg in South Holland
Peter Glas, the president of the Dutch Association of Regional Water Authorities, said last week that Britain should prepare for seas and tidal rivers to rise by over 6ft in 80 years. This is nearly double the worst-case scenario predicted by the Met Office.
Rain and hill snow will fall across northern Britain this morning before easing, but it will otherwise be bright for most with sunny spells and showers – before a dry and clear night allowing frost, mist and fog patches to form.
Tomorrow, outbreaks of rain look to push across the southern half of the UK, with snow falling on the Welsh hills, while northern areas will see bright spells and some scattered showers.
On Thursday, early rain in the South East should clear to leave bright spells for most and showers in the North West, while rain and hill snow will move across the UK overnight and into Friday morning, followed by sunny spells.
The owner of a bunglalow in Snaith left almost completely submerged by flooding has said his focus is on preventing the same thing happening to other families in the future.
Kevin Lorryman’s home is just one of dozens in the East Yorkshire communities of Snaith and East Cowick which were inundated a week ago when the River Aire spilled out of its normal washlands, creating a vast inland sea.
Mr Lorryman’s Snaith bungalow has become a symbol of the recent flooding which has affected many areas of England and Wales, with just its roof and its solar panels visible above the muddy, 9ft (3m) deep floodwater.
Despite facing the prospect of his home having to be completely demolished, the 56-year-old said he is keen to make sure no-one forgets the scores of other families in East Yorkshire and beyond in a similar situation.
He said: ‘I just want people to think about all the other people around here who have been affected.
‘There are hundreds. I think it’s 69 houses in total affected in East Cowick, not far away, as well as those in Snaith.
‘They are all in the same situation I am in. Even those who’ve just had a few inches, it’s caused a huge amount of damage and it will take a lot of recovery.’
Mr Lorryman is now living in his caravan as prepares to move into a rented house while the home he lived in with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren slowly re-emerges from the receding water.
He said the local community has pulled together in response to the crisis but he wants to see the country more prepared for these situations in the future.
‘Going forward, there needs to be action taken at a much higher level to prevent this happening again,’ he said.
‘East Riding Council teams have come in and everyone here has been brilliant but it needs to be sorted at a much higher level – emergency response teams put in place to respond to these things.
‘And we need to build flood resilience in.
‘I don’t want my family to go through this again. I don’t want anyone to go through this again.’
Mr Lorryman said he is hoping to use his insurance money to build another home on slightly higher ground on his land.
He said his neighbours had been inundated with donations of clothes and other items but still needed help and urged people to donate to a Just Giving page set up by the community.
More than 150 residents attended a meeting at Snaith Primary School on Monday night where they questioned officials from a range of organisations, including East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Environment Agency.
The council said 23 homes have been flooded in Snaith, with 65 affected in nearby East Cowick.
A car is almost completely submerged in the floodwater in the village of Snaith, East Yorkshire
A van sits in floodwater in the deluged East Yorkshire village of Snaith which has been badly affected
Workmen clear debris from the road where floodwater has begun to recede today in Snaith, East Yorkshire
Floodwater surrounds a home in Snaith, East Yorkshire, with roads completely underwater in the area this morning
A Network Rail employee wades through floodwater in Snaith, East Yorkshire, today as dozens of flood warnings are in place
Dave Smith, head of human resources and emergency control centre manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: ‘While the threat of more flooding is reducing people still need to be vigilant.
UK has one of its wettest and warmest winters
The UK has just experienced one of its wettest, and warmest, winters on record, new figures show.
Across December, January and February, the country was deluged with an average total of 469.7mm of rain.
This was enough to rank it the fifth wettest winter on record, according to the Met Office.
Last month has already been confirmed as the wettest February on record, with an average of 209.1mm measured across the UK.
The Met Office has now said that it was also the fifth wettest of any calendar month, based on statistics dating back to 1862.
As well as being particularly wet, the three months from December 2019 to February 2020 were exceptionally mild, with a provisional mean temperature across the country of 5.28C.
It means five of the UK’s 10 warmest winters on record have all been in the past seven years: 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2018/19 and now 2019/20.
The warmest winter, based on data that goes back to 1884, occurred in 1988/89, which saw a mean temperature of 5.80C.
The mixture of mild temperatures and wet conditions over the past few months has been caused by a very strong jet stream high in the atmosphere, which has been further south than normal.
This has allowed a succession of Atlantic storm systems to cross the UK, including Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.
The Met Office says a direct link between the wet weather and climate change is difficult to make, because rainfall patterns in the UK have always shown a large range of natural variation in the long-term.
But they point out that there is a trend towards wetter winters, which is consistent with what is expected to happen in the future with continued climate change.
‘The council and its partners will continue to have an operational presence on the ground for as long as is needed in order to support our residents.
‘The council has plans in place to begin recovery activities as soon as possible. However we won’t be able to start until the water levels have reduced significantly and we are confident they will not rise again.’
The clear-up operation in the lower Aire catchment is just one of scores going on around northern England, the Midlands and Wales as the UK continues to experience one of its wettest, and warmest, winters on record.
Across December, January and February, the country was deluged with an average total of 469.7mm of rain, according to Met Office figures released this week.
Last month has already been confirmed as the wettest February on record, with an average of 209.1mm measured across the UK.
The country was lashed by three named storms over the course of the month, with Ciara, Dennis and finally Jorge.
Fortunately, the Met Office says long-term forecasts for the middle of March suggest high pressure building, which could bring drier and calmer conditions.
The severe weather warnings began at the start of February, with 80mph Storm Ciara sweeping across the country to ruin the first weekend of the month.
Storm Dennis roared in the following weekend. Another soggy weekend followed on February 22 and 23 before Storm Jorge arrived and added to the record rainfall totals right at the end of the month.
Roofing firms say crews have been unable to work for most of the month and building sites have been at a standstill on days of heavy rain and high winds.
Economists say it will be a few weeks before they can assess the wet weather’s impact on the country’s production and spending.
The blame has been placed on the jet stream, a high-altitude core of strong winds which controls our weather. It was running at between 200mph and 250mph in February, firing a succession of low pressure systems directly across the Atlantic.