FLOOD warnings and alerts are in place across Yorkshire this morning after Storm Jonas brought another deluge of rain and strong gales.
Severe weather warnings were in place for much of the country and military personnel have been deployed to parts of the region worst affected by last month’s devastating flooding.
There are three Environment Agency red flood warnings in place in North Yorkshire this morning. The agency is warning that flooding is expected and immediate action is required at the River Swale at Brompton-on-Swale Caravan Park and Brompton Lakes.
Red flood warnings are also in place for the River Swale at Kirby Wiske and the River Ure at Rockcliffe Caravan Park.
A new flood warning was put in place for the River Calder at Brearley and Luddenden Foot, where heavy rain this morning has caused the rivers to rise sharply. The Environment Agency says that although the heaviest rainfall has now passed, the river will continue to respond to the rain that has fallen, before dropping again later this morning.
The Agency has said there are 17 flood alerts in North Yorkshire where flooding is possible.
The flood alerts include the North Sea coast at Bridlington and the upper River Swale and the lower River Swale in the Yorkshire Dales.
There are currently no Environment Agency flood warnings for Leeds.
Strong winds caused the most havoc yesterday afternoon with several major roads across the county closed.
On one 400m stretch of the A628 Woodhead Pass three trucks had been blown onto their side before the route across the Pennines was closed.
The A66 between North Yorkshire and Cumbria was also shut at Scotch Corner because of the wind.
The Environment Agency issued one flood warning this afternoon for Brompton-on-Swale, in North Yorkshire, including the village’s caravan park.
And there were also flood alerts in place on the Rivers Swale, Aire and Calder, with the areas around Richmond, Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge at risk and an incident room set up in Leeds. The Calder was one of the worst affected areas last month.
Levels on the Aire were forecast to peak this evening. The alert says: “The current forecast is not indicating that rivers will reach flood warning levels. We are however, expecting washlands in the Upper Aire Catchment to start to fill.”
Troops and temporary flood defences are being deployed to flood-risk areas, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said.
Quizzed by the parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee today on whether funding would be made available by the Government to help by people hit by flooding, she replied “absolutely”.
And she told MPs: “Our immediate effort at the moment is make sure the response is ready in areas we think are affected. We already have military personnel deployed in Calder Valley, one of the areas we’re concerned about.”
The Met Office, which has issued yellow “severe” warnings for today and Friday, has warned communities to prepare for some flooding.
With scores of flood alerts in place, the Environment Agency (EA) has deployed a number of temporary defences and pumps.
The measures include carrying out work on the wider Ullswater valley in Cumbria, as well as in Appleby, Keswick, Cockermouth and Glenridding.
It has also put teams, including military personnel, on the ground across Yorkshire to inspect and repair defences.
The Rivers Severn, Wye and Bristol Avon could also experience some flooding over the coming days, the agency added.
The warnings in place across Wales, Scotland, Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Devon and Cornwall come as the remnants of Storm Jonas, which blanketed much of the east coast of America in deep snow, sweeps in from the Atlantic.
Lindsay Mears, of the Met Office, said the impact of the rainfall would be made “more severe” because land is still “saturated” by the three bouts of heavy flooding over recent weeks. Neil Davies, EA’s national flood duty manager, said: “With heavy rain this week, people in the North and South West need to be prepared for the risk of flooding. EA teams have been helping communities recover from the severe floods over Christmas. We are now preparing for further flooding as rain is expected to fall on ground left saturated after the wettest month on record.”
LIZ TRUSS ruled out the Government intervening to stop developments on flood plains, when she was questioned by MPs.
Asked whether it was time to take a tougher approach she said: “It is part of the national planning policy framework to avoid building on flood plains but at the same time planning is a local matter for local decision making so there is always a balance to be struck between natonal policy and what happens locally. The idea that everything can be micro-managed from Whitehall is a wrong assumption.” Ms Truss also suggested the pay and hours of the next chairman of the Environment Agency could be increased to ensure they are available when floods hit. Sir Philip Dilley, resigned after it emerged he was in Barbados when the Boxing Day floods hit and did not immediately return.