Storm Ciara hits the UK: Flooded streets in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria
The bomb term refers to a sudden pressure drop within the storm system which drives it to produce hurricane-strength winds. Dennis met the criteria yesterday after its central pressure dropped, indicating a rapid strengthening of its impact. Forecasts say when the storm sweeps in from the Atlantic the addition of melting snow and badly swollen rivers will leave hundreds more homes flooded.
An astonishing 5½in is likely to bucket down in some areas within a matter of hours.
The storm is expected to hit here between 9am and lunchtime today, kick-starting 72 hours of misery.
The Environment Agency (EA) confirmed fears that the flooding will be worse than last weekend’s Storm Ciara, due to incessant rain falling on already saturated ground.
Paul Davies, a principal meteorologist at the Met Office, said much of the UK can expect between .8in and 1½in over the weekend.
But that will rise to more than 3in in some areas.
Storm Ciara brought snow to Scotland
He added that up to 5½in would not be “impossible” over the higher ground of Wales and Scotland.
Four amber weather warnings for torrential rain on Saturday and Sunday have been issued by the forecaster, with a warning that already flood-hit communities could now face fresh devastation.
Last night the EA issued 14 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 126 flood alerts, advising that flooding is possible, in areas across the country.
Households living near railway lines are being urged to secure any loose items in their gardens.
Last weekend several trampolines were blown on to tracks and overhead electric wires, bringing train services to a halt and causing chaos.
The storm is also likely to cause treacherous driving conditions.
Aberystwyth prepares to be hit by Storm Dennis
Ciara, which hit last Sunday, left 800 properties flooded in England alone and claimed the lives of three people who were hit by falling trees.
Fast flowing or deep floodwater caused by Storm Dennis remains a major risk to the public.
And transport networks could be hit by closures, cancellations and hold-ups.
Ferries are also expected to face disruption, while airline chiefs are anxiously waiting to see if it will be safe for planes to take off.
Flight delays could cause mayhem, with many families due to head off for the half-term holidays after schools broke up yesterday.
Storm Dennis will hit Britain this weekend
There is a very real risk of rural communities being cut off by flooded roads and power cuts in affected areas.
Yesterday, frantic preparations were under way to operate various anti-flood systems and flood storage reservoirs.
Defences were put up to protect some areas, such as Foss Barrier in York, the Thames Barrier in London and Bewdley, in Worcestershire, located on the River Severn.
By midnight tonight, the storm winds will have engulfed the entire country, with Scotland seeing the brunt of Dennis’s menace. Liverpool, Cardiff, Exeter and Bournemouth are also expected to see the harshest of today’s rain.
But heavy showers will also strike areas around the Brecon Beacons in south Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor, in Devon, from about 3pm this afternoon, it was predicted.
Tomorrow, areas south of London, stretching from Andover in Hampshire eastwards, will bear the brunt of the vicious weather.
People are being warned to only travel if necessary this weekend due to the risk of death.
John Curtin, the EA’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, said Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire were the areas he was now most concerned about.
Mr Curtin added: “This one storm could be a step up from what we have seen before.
“We had a big storm last weekend, we now have saturated catchments, snow-melt and rainfall, so it is a perfect storm.”
He said the snow which fell in parts of England following Storm Ciara is likely to thaw as the rain arrives on Saturday.
Mr Curtin said communities will get about eight hours warning ahead of any flooding over the weekend and urged worried residents and business owners to sign up to the agency’s flood warning system.
He said areas along the River Severn in Shropshire and River Ouse in North Yorkshire could feel the impact of the deluge later, on Monday and Tuesday.
The Met Office added: “With Ciara, the rain was heavy, but swept through. The concern with Dennis is the longevity of the rainfall.”
The EA said about 2,000 properties have been affected by flooding since November last year, while 64,000 have been protected.
Storm Dennis: This Bichon Frise is wrapped up ready for the storm
Since September 1 2019, the agency has issued 1,470 flood warnings in England alone and eight severe flood warnings.
Mr Curtin about a quarter of the agency’s 400 river gauges – instruments used to measure water levels – have reached record highs in the past 10 years. He added just under 10 per cent of the agency’s gauges had recorded the highest levels this winter.
Figures from the agency show 2012 was the wettest period in history from April to June, while 2013-2014 saw the wettest winter in 250 years.
Meanwhile, in December 2015, a new 24-hour rainfall record was set for the UK, when 13in fell at the mountainous Honister Pass in the Lake District.