Environment Agency working day and night to reduce flood impact

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Bakewell in Derbyshire

The Environment Agency is urging people to sign up to flood warnings and to check the latest safety advice.

The Environment Agency is warning communities that a significant flood risk remains for the next few days in parts of England, with ongoing flooding expected in some areas due to recent extreme weather and further flooding possible as more rain is expected.

Although the rainfall that led to widespread flooding across the middle of England on 23 and 24 December has now passed, river levels in some areas remain high as water makes its way through catchments. In particular, the Great Ouse river in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire remains exceptionally high, some areas remain flooded and further flooding is possible as the flood peak travels downstream over the next two days. Since the last major flood in the area in 1998, Environment Agency flood defences have been constructed in towns including Bedford, Godmanchester and St Ives and these are helping to protect many homes from flooding.

Storm Bella is expected to bring high winds and further heavy rain moving in from the north later today (Boxing Day) and into 27 December. This means that existing flood levels may remain high for several days and there is the possibility of minor flooding in parts of the South West, South East, West Midlands, and North West.

As of 1.30pm on Saturday 26 December, there are three severe flood warnings for Cogenhoe Mill Caravan Site, Billing Aquadrome in Northampton and Bedford, meaning there is an immediate risk to life; 67 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected; and 98 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, in places across the country.

Environment Agency teams have been out on the ground today deploying defences, operating pumps and working with the emergency services and partners to reduce the risk for communities across the country. This activity will continue over the coming days to keep people safe over the Christmas and New Year period.

Ben Lukey, the Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

Heavy and persistent rainfall in recent days has led to surface water and river flooding in some communities particularly in central and east England, including around the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire yesterday.

The flood risk will remain in impacted areas through the weekend, with rain on Saturday evening likely to bring the possibility of further flooding to the South West, South East, West Midlands and north of England overnight on Saturday and into Sunday morning.

Our thoughts are with those affected. Environment Agency teams are working 24/7 alongside the emergency services and local partners to check and operate defences and support those who have been flooded, reduce the risk of further flooding and keep communities safe through the festive period.

We urge people to keep away from swollen rivers and flooded land and not to drive through flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.   

People should check their flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at via Gov.uk or follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

The public can check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation, or by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or following @EnvAgency on Twitter.

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