Britain savaged by fatal floods

 

Parts of England have been brought to a standstill by deadly flooding as rain of biblical proportions lashed the north of the country.

One woman died in the chaos as more than a month's rain fell in a 24-hour period and thousands were forced to flee their homes.

The Sun reports, the tragic victim's body was recovered from the River Derwent, Derbyshire, after being swept 3km away by ferocious flood waters as hundreds of families were evacuated, roads were submerged and railway lines blocked.

A flooded street in Matlock, northern England. Picture: AP
A flooded street in Matlock, northern England. Picture: AP

The woman's remains were recovered in Darley Dale by helicopter after she was swept away by flood water in Rowsley. More than 400 homes in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, were evacuated.

Torrential downpours caused mayhem during the 24-hour deluge with dozens of shoppers sleeping overnight in Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre after being trapped by flooding.

Locals piled sandbags up to stop flood waters drenching homes in Bentley, north of Doncaster after the heavy rain which hit late on Thursday (local time).

'DANGER TO LIFE'

At least a month's worth of rain was dumped on parts of the country in 24 hours, with residents forced to evacuate homes in Mansfield and Kirk Sandall, Doncaster after the River Don burst its banks.

The Environment Agency issued "danger to life" warnings as river levels swelled after the heavy rain overnight.

Around 240 flood warnings and alerts were issued throughout the day with northern England bearing the brunt of the misery.

A police roadblock near Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, England, where some people were forced to stay overnight after heavy rain and flooding caused local roads to become gridlocked. Picture: AP
A police roadblock near Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, England, where some people were forced to stay overnight after heavy rain and flooding caused local roads to become gridlocked. Picture: AP

Rail operator Northern issued "do not travel" advice for passengers using five lines on its network.

Lines between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln, Sheffield and Goole, Hebden Bridge and Rochdale, and the line from Sheffield to Leeds via Moorthorpe were closed.

A Derbyshire Police spokesman said of the tragic death in Darley Dale: "The body of a woman has been recovered from flood water in Darley Dale.

"The woman was reported as having been swept away by flood water in Rowsley and the body of what is believed to be the same woman was found in Darley Dale and was recovered at 10.40am."

Mark Hopkinson, who witnessed the emergency operation to find the woman, told the BBC he saw police officers and mountain rescuers searching in the area.

Residents in Yarborough Terrace look out at the flood water from their houses in Doncaster. Picture: AP
Residents in Yarborough Terrace look out at the flood water from their houses in Doncaster. Picture: AP

He said: "We saw a little drone go up and the coastguard helicopter came, and that was then circling, hovering over some trees."

'WORST FLOODING EVER'

South Yorkshire Police warned flooding caused "significant issues" throughout the day.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited one of the worst hit communities this evening as the area came to terms with the flooding chaos.

He arrived in flood-hit Matlock, Derbyshire, where he joined a briefing by 999 workers.

The PM said at the meeting: "I remember Whaley Bridge, you did an amazing job. Absolutely fantastic. Very sad about the fatality this morning."

Prime Minister Johnson also tweeted: "Awful to see the terrible flooding across the North of England. Thank you to the emergency staff & volunteers helping families through this difficult time."

While South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said in the past 28 hours crews rescued more than 120 people, with about 1,200 calls to its control room.

The EA estimated 3,000 properties had been affected in Doncaster, including problems with access.

Some residents in Yarborough Terrace, in the Bentley area of the town, were rescued from their homes by boats as waist-high water filled the street.

One woman, who has lived in her home on the street for more than 20 years, said the downstairs of her property had filled with water at around 7am on Friday.

"I've never known it to be this bad", she said.

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said she will have to house her daughter and grandchildren for the next few days as a result of the flooding.

She said: "We've just taken the decision to get out of here as soon as possible - it's dangerous as it is and it'll only get worse."

Saturday's horseracing meeting at Doncaster has been cancelled due to a waterlogged track.

And there were reports of fish swimming in the flood water through Longford, near Warrington.

Derbyshire Police have also warned of widespread flooding and advised motorists not to move flood signs or use routes that were closed after the heavy rains.

Superintendent Mat Healey, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "A multi-agency response has been put in place to deal with this major incident affecting a large number of properties in Worksop and Mansfield and the wider impacts across the county.

River levels are expected to subside, but it may take some time with the ground saturated, he added.

In Sheffield, shoppers were forced to buy Primark pyjamas to spend the night sleeping in Sheffield's Meadowhall centre amid flooding chaos.

The centre was put on lockdown and about 30 customers trying to get a head start on their Christmas shopping had to stay inside.

Stranded shoppers shared images on social media of people who had to buy pjs from Primark and blankets to stay warm.

Other images showed people sleeping on benches and families dining the food hall.

Shopper Becky Laver told BBC Radio Sheffield: "No-one looks happy, everyone looks miserable."

"People are having to buy their own pyjamas and quilts because of how cold and wet they are from the rain."

Saskia Hazelwood, 17, from Doncaster, said: "When we got to Meadowhall it was very hectic and we heard about the flooding and saw the river about to burst.

Teenagers ride their bikes through floodwater in Doncaster, northern England. Picture: AP
Teenagers ride their bikes through floodwater in Doncaster, northern England. Picture: AP

"Our trains were then cancelled so we went to get food, then spoke to the police and security and they told us it was unsafe to leave and there was no way of getting in or out.

"So we instantly started panicking and, when we found out there was no way of getting home, we went into Primark and all bought spare clothes and we bought food and drinks to keep us going throughout the night."

One stranded shopper tweeted: "We're being given nothing, no blankets or anything. People have had to go to Primark to buy everything themselves as it's freezing in Meadowhall."

Meanwhile, thirty five homes were evacuated following a mudslide.

Residents on a road in Mansfield were evacuated just before 5pm after part of a quarry collapsed following heavy rainfall.

Parts of this report originally appeared in The Sun and are republished here with permission.



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