2019 England floods

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2019 England floods
Riverdondoncaster2019.jpg
The River Don in Doncaster, South Yorkshire overtops its banks on 8 November 2019
Date7 November 2019 – 18 November 2019
Location
Deaths2

In November 2019, the Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands and parts of the South East England regions of the United Kingdom were struck by serious river and surface water flooding. On 14 November floodwater caused major disruption to train services.[1] On 15 November the Environment Agency issued 147 flood warnings in England after further heavy rainfall raised river levels.

Background[edit]

Most of England[2] received above average rainfall during October 2019, with some catchments receiving over double the average monthly total. Soils were wetter than average for the time of year across most of the country by the end of October. Monthly mean river flows were classed as exceptionally high at just over a third of indicator sites. Early on 8 November, heavy and prolonged rainfall[3] fell on these saturated catchments across the southern Peak District causing flash floods and rivers to burst their banks.[4] A week later on the 14 November a further low pressure system brought more heavy rain to areas further south, raising water levels along on the rivers Severn and Avon.

Locations[edit]

Yorkshire and the Humber[edit]

Sheffield[edit]

The Met Office reported that Sheffield had 84 mm (3.3 in) of rain in just over the 36 hours which preceded the flood. This is almost the same as the monthly average for November.[5] On 7 November Supertram services were terminated at Meadowhall South/Tinsley tram stop over fears that floodwater would put the Tinsley tram bridge in danger.[6] On 8 November, shoppers spent the night inside Meadowhall shopping centre as floods surrounded the complex.[7] Rain continued overnight leading to a major incident being declared in Sheffield.[7] Millhouses public park, where in the 2007 floods a boy was swept to his death, was closed, due to concerns about the level of the River Sheaf, a tributary of the Don.[8][9] On 8 November junction 34 of the M1 was closed.[10]

Flooding throughout the Regions had a significant impact on rail services from Sheffield. On 7 November flooding at Denby Dale resulted in trains being unable to run between Huddersfield and Sheffield via Penistone.[11] On 14 November train services between Sheffield and Worksop were cancelled because of floods as was the East Midlands Trains service from Sheffield to London St Pancras via the Midland Main Line.[12][13] On 15 November the TransPennine Express services between Sheffield and Scunthorpe was suspended because of floods in Kirk Sandall, Doncaster.[14] The Hope Valley line service was also disrupted due to flooding at nearby Edale.[15][16] Flooding of railway lines in Rotherham also affected train services from Sheffield.

On 17 November the Met Office reported its Sheffield weather station had recorded its wettest ever autumn, “With 15 days [of November] still to go, the site has already recorded 427.6 mm of rain. The previous record was set in 2000 with 425.2 mm of rain falling between 1 September and 30 November that year.”[17]

Rotherham[edit]

The railway tracks at Rotherham Central railway station, used by both Northern railway services and the Sheffield Supertram tram-train, were flooded. Trains were unable to run between Sheffield and Gainsborough Central or Lincoln Central. The Sheffield to Leeds (via Moorthorpe) route was also suspended.[18] On 7 November M1 junction 32, the M18 turn-off was reduced to two lanes due to floodwater.[6] On 12 November flooding led to an oil spillage which led to the RSPCA having to rescue 60 swans.[19] On 15 November it was reported that all Supertram services were operating as normal with the exception of the tram-train.[20] Plans to switch on the Christmas lights in Rotherham were cancelled until further notice because of the floods. Rotherham Parkgate retail park was also closed because of flooding with 85% of the shops re-opening on 16 November.[21]

Doncaster[edit]

The Don flooded in Doncaster, reaching record levels with severe flood warnings continuing into 12 November.[22][23]

On 11 November there were 5 severe flood warnings in place for Kirk Bramwith, South Bramwith, Willow Bridge, Bentley and Fishlake, with residents of Fishlake, Thorpe in Balne, Trumfleet and Bentley being asked to evacuate their homes.[24]

Fishlake local resident, Grant Berry appeared on BBC news stating, “The village had not flooded in over 100 years” as he evacuated his home.

On 11 November the Environment Agency deployed four pumps at Fishlake in an attempt to reduce the depth of flood-water and an RAF Chinook was used to convey aggregate to shore-up the banks of drainage channels east of Bentley.[25] Fishlake residents were critical of the Environment Agency which had stated that on Friday 8 November at 5:00 pm there was no flood warning. Even when the village had flooded by 9:00 pm the Environment Agency had still not issued a flood warning.[26] On 15 November John Curtin, executive director of flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said 38 pumps had been used in homes in Fishlake to reduce the inundation.[27]

Northern rail told customers not to travel on the Doncaster to Scunthorpe route.[5] CrossCountry diverted its trains away from Doncaster.[28] The floods resulted in the closure of 39 roads in the Doncaster area on 11 November.[29]

On 15 November Doncaster Council issued a list of 26 roads still closed due to the flood.[30]

Barnsley[edit]

On 7 November the River Dearne burst its banks, flooding the pub and restaurant, The Mill of the Black Monks, thought to be Barnsley's oldest pub. The building mostly dates back to 1150 AD, with some parts dating back to 700 AD. Other nearby residences were also flooded.[31][32] On 7 November, within Barnsley twelve roads were closed due to floodwater.[11] Residents and businesses in the Lundwood and Low Valley areas of Barnsley were flooded and the B6096, Station Road at Wombwell was affected by severe flooding.[33][10] On 15 November three roads remained closed due to floodwater, New Road (from Tingle Bridge Lane junction to the roundabout at Lions Lodge) and Smithy Bridge Lane at Hemingfield, and Birds Nest Lane at Penistone.[34]

Hull[edit]

On 14 November run-off from fields closed the A63, the only link between Hull and the M62 motorway.[35] The road re-opened on 15 November although a significant number of roads remained closed in the Hull area, including sections of the A164.[36]

Leeds and West Yorkshire[edit]

On 8 November flooding of railway lines on part of the East Coast Mainline led to delays on the Leeds to London service, with all LNER electric locomotive hauled services being cancelled. At least seven roads in West Yorkshire were closed, including the M606 Northbound main carriageway at junction 3, part of the A641 and some of the A646 Halifax to Burnley route. The moveable weir at Knostrop, part of the River Aire flood alleviation scheme, was lowered to reduce the water level upstream.[37]

East Midlands[edit]

River Derwent and Derbyshire[edit]

The Derwent flooded, and parts of Matlock were submerged as a month's worth of rainfall fell in a day.[38] A woman swept away when wading through fast moving floodwaters and found dead later the same day was named as a former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Annie Hall.[39][40] During a visit to Matlock, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister said the floods were "not like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency".[5]

On 12 November a number of car parks at Chatsworth House were closed, with access to the Christmas market restricted to pre-booked customers and 'Friends of Chatsworth'.[41] Also on 12 November, flooding at Edale led to the closure of the Hope Valley rail service from Sheffield to Manchester Piccadilly. Services resumed later that day.[15][16]

On 14 November the railtracks at Draycott flooded, leading to delays on journeys from Derby to Long Eaton on the Midland Main Line, and the Matlock to Newark Castle lines were also affected.[42][1]

River Trent and Nottinghamshire[edit]

On 7 November the River Ryton burst its banks resulting in major incidents being declared in Worksop.[43][44] Residents and Bassetlaw District Council leader, Simon Greaves, were critical of the Canal and River Trust (CRT) for not opening The Canch sluice gate. This sluice feeds excess water to the Chesterfield Canal via a channel. The sluice was eventually opened by a firefighter. The initial response of the CRT to requests to open the gate was to say no flood alert had been issued for the Ryton, according to a resident of the Riverside Caravan Park. When CRT engineers visited the sluice gate they refused to enter the building housing the sluice, saying the building was 'unsafe'. The CRT is responsible for the sluice gate though the building is owned by the council.[44] On 15 November the CRT released a statement stating that the sluice was not designed to drain the river. It said “Definitively, it would not have alleviated the flooding in the town. The water would have stayed in the area as the feeder, canal and river all run in parallel a very short distance apart”.[45]

Residents of mobile homes in Newark were evacuated on 9 November over fears that the River Trent would burst its banks.[43] The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for Retford and moved pumps into the Redtford Beck area in an attempt to prevent the flooding of homes.[46] In Mansfield the heavy rain also caused a mudslide which resulted in 35 homes being evacuated.[47]

Transport was affected in the county with road and rail closures. East Midlands Railway services on the Nottingham to Mansfield and Worksop routes were disrupted due to flooding on the railway line. More than seven roads were closed in the Nottinghamshire area.[48] The rail service between Shirebrook and Worksop, on the Robin Hood Line was also disrupted.[47] On 14 November East Midlands Railway said a flooded railway line near Loughborough had disrupted services between Lincoln, Nottingham and Leicester.[42] The bus operator, Nottingham City Transport reported that flooding had affected fourteen of its routes, with some bus stops not being served.[42]

Lincolnshire[edit]

More than 1000 acres In Lincolnshire were underwater when the Barlings Eau burst its banks. Twelve flood warnings were issued in the county and some farms were cut off.[25] About 30 residents were evacuated from the Short Ferry Caravan Park near to Bardney, which is close to the Barlings Eau.[1]

On 8 November homes in the Cherry Willingham area of Lincoln were inundated as the River Witham burst its banks, and the area around the Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln was flooded. A number of roads were closed in the county including parts of the A1 (northbound), parts of the A46 and parts of the A631.[49]

Bransby Horses, an animal sanctuary near Lincoln, was told by the Environment Agency to close their drain valves and flood their site. The sanctuary, which is located on the River Till washlands has long-standing agreement with the agency to do so in order to reduce flooding in Lincoln. The washlands help protect 7,000 homes and businesses in and around Lincoln. The Bransby Horses site has seen human sewage and four feet of water on their fields with 40% of the grazing land unsafe for at least the next six months (from November 2019). Over one hundred of the four hundred and fifty horses, donkeys, ponies and mules were moved to the sanctuary's site in Barlings, which was bought specifically to deal with emergency evacuations of the Bransby site.[50][51][52]

In Grimsby the River Freshney reached record levels flooding homes in nearby Healing. Riverhead pumping station, operated by Associated British Ports attempted to pump as much of the Freshney's water into Alexandra Dock as was possible using all three Archimedes screws at the pumping station simultaneously.[53][54]

Lade Bank pumping station
Lade Bank pumping station

On 14 November nine roads in Lincolnshire remained closed because of flooding.[55] On the same day an embankment supporting Fodderdyke Bank, a road at New Leake, near Boston, collapsed into the adjacent drain. The drain takes excess rainfall to pumping stations at Lade Bank and Hobhole where it is discharged into The Wash. Peter Bateson, Chief Executive at Witham Fourth District Internal Drainage Board said, "We are seeing many slips in the area, but the one at Fodderdyke is the largest." Work to repair the embankment, which requires a specialist piling tool as the bedrock is so hard, is expected to be finished by mid-December.[56][57]

By 15 November Environment Agency data from monitoring station at Brigg had recorded 104.6 mm of rainfall since 1 November, more than twice the 50 mm average for the month. Both the New River Ancholme (constructed in 1635) and the Old River Ancholme had over-topped their banks flooding parts of Brigg. Fifty homes across North Lincolnshire were flooded, according to figures released by North Lincolnshire council.[58]

West Midlands[edit]

Birmingham[edit]

On 14 November the River Cole burst its banks causing flooding in the Hall Green area. West Midlands Railway services between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-Upon-Avon were cancelled.[59] On the same day British Transport Police, Network Rail and staff at Birmingham New Street station advised passengers not to travel by rail unless it was absolutely necessary.[60][61]

Shropshire[edit]

On 14 November in Shropshire nine schools were closed because of floods.[62][63] The Environment Agency issued three flood warnings for the county, two on the River Severn and one on the River Teme.[64] Sections of the A49 and A488 were closed as were a number of minor roads, particularly in the south of the county.[65] On 15 November four schools remained closed.[66][67]

On 15 November rail services between Shrewsbury and Welshpool did not run due to flooding.[68]

Herefordshire[edit]

On 14 November the A438 at Portwaym was flooded with the local authority asking drivers to avoid it if possible and the A417 at Maund Bryan was closed after cars became stranded in floodwater.[69] Eighteen schools in Herefordshire were closed due to the floods.[62] West Midlands Trains reported that the railway line between Great Malvern and Hereford was closed because of flooding.[69] A landslip led to the closure of the B4234 between Kerne Bridge and Walford.[69] On 14 November the Environment Agency issued flood warnings on all rivers in Herefordshire and the Lugg, the Teme and the Frome burst their banks, affecting a small number roads in the north of the county.[70] Settlements affected by flooding included the Greyfriars area, Leintwardine, Walford, Little Hereford, Ashford Carbonel, Ross-on-Wye and Hereford with the A4103 and A4113 roads also affected.[71]

Worcestershire[edit]

On 14 November Worcestershire County Council closed sixty one schools because of the floods.[72] The Environment Agency deployed a pump at Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, to remove standing water.[62] Parts of the A38 were closed in both directions at Stoke Heath because of flooding.[69] A mudslide occurred on the road at Wilden Lane, Stourport-on-Severn although the road remained open.[73] In Wychavon, on 14 November thirty eight roads were closed, including parts of the, A44, A449 and A4133, with one road at Hartlebury being closed due to a mud slide. In Malvern twelve Roads were closed, in Redditch seven were closed and a further five closed in Bromsgrove.[74]

On 14 November West Midlands Trains' services between Worcester and Birmingham were cancelled because of flooding in Bromsgrove.[69]

On 15 November train services between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester Shrub Hill did not run because to flooding.[68] Floods caused major disruption to transport on 15 November with over 125 roads being closed in Worcestershire, including sections of the A38, A44, A442, A443, A448 and A449.[75] Bus services between Tenbury and Worcester were cancelled as were many school bus services. In Evesham, river levels were at their highest since the 2007 United Kingdom floods.[76] The Environment Agency reported that between twenty five and thirty properties close to the Avon in Evesham were flooded.[77] On 16 November over twenty five roads remained closed throughout the county.[78] The Three Counties Farming Conference at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern was cancelled on 15 November due to road conditions.[79][80]

River Avon and Warwickshire[edit]

On 14 November in Sambourne, near Coughton, in Warwickshire vehicle drivers had to be rescued from flood water.[69] Flooding on the tracks disrupted rail services to Leamington Spa.[81] Twenty seven schools across the county were closed on 14 November due to flooding.[62] On 14 November the Shipston river gauge on the River Stour reached a high level which prompted the Environment Agency to issue flood alerts for Halford, Crimscote, Alderminster, Preston-on-Stour, Ailstone, Atherstone-on-Stour and Clifford Chambers. The Agency said three flood warnings have been issued for the River Dene and Stour with a total of 20 flood alerts in place in the county.[69]

On 15 November the River Avon broke its banks causing flooding across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.[68] The Environment Agency issued flood warnings for Stratford-upon-Avon, Evesham, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwick, and Leamington Spa.[82] In Stratford-upon-Avon, temporary flood barriers were installed near the town centre.[83] Floodwater reached the road outside Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon.[77]

South East England[edit]

Oxfordshire[edit]

On 14 November the CrossCountry trains services to Banbury were affected by surface water on the line to Leamington Spa.[81] Oxfordshire County Council announced that flooded roads were impassable between Woodeaton, Elsfield, and Marston, and that the road between Waterperry and Worminghall was flooded. Vehicle drivers were turned away from Wendlebury due to flood water.[84] On 14 November there were 20 flood alerts in place across the county.[85]

On 14 November flood alerts were issued for the River Thames and River Cherwell through Oxford.[86]

Buckinghamshire[edit]

Surface water flooding in the Beachampton area of Buckinghamshire led to vehicles being stranded.[87][81]

South West England[edit]

Gloucestershire[edit]

On 14 November nine roads were closed in the county, with many more affected by surface water flooding.[88] The 15 November races at Cheltenham Racecourse were abandoned due to the rainfall.[89] By 16 November the number of closed roads had risen to fourteen.[90] The River Avon and River Severn burst their banks in Tewkesbury flooding a number of properties.[91][92] Twelve roads remained closed on 17 November, with the B4234 at Kerne Bridge being closed due to a landslip.[93]

Response[edit]

On 11 November Prime Minister Boris Johnson called a Cobra meeting over the governments response to the flooding which came after leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn sent a letter to Johnson calling on him to hold a Cobra meeting.[94] On 13 November the Prime Minister visited Stainforth, South Yorkshire, as 100 soldiers from the Light Dragoons and 2 Royal Anglian were deployed to the area. Johnson was heckled by local residents.[23][95] On 11 November Corbyn said, "Under the Tories, front-line flood response and Environment Agency staff have been slashed by a fifth, and our fire-and-rescue service by nearly a quarter." The BBC scrutinized these figures and found they were supported by statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Home Office.[96]

On 11 November the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government initiated the Bellwin scheme, designed to provide compensation to local authorities for some of the initial costs they incur as a result of flooding in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.[97]

On 14 the Environment Agency estimated that 830 properties had been flooded. This figure was challenged by The Guardian, which had contacted local authorities in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, and found that at least 1,758 properties had been flooded.[98]

On 15 November the Prime Minister announced households and business owners significantly affected by recent floods would receive relief on their council tax and business rates for at least the next three months. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council was critical of the lack of consultation with local authorities. A reporter from the Rotherham Advertiser sought clarity from the Government on how the relief would work, including eligibility criteria. A spokeswoman for the government admitted the criteria “is yet to be decided”.[99][100]

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