Storm Bella set to hit UK on Boxing Day after heavy rain floods homes

Connor Parker
·4-min read
A flooding sign at the flooded Pitchcroft Car Park in Worcester, Worcestershire, where the River Severn continues to rise after several days of heavy rain. Several flood warnings and alerts along the River Severn have been issued.
A flooding sign at the flooded Pitchcroft Car Park in Worcester. (PA)

Heavy winds and rains are expected over the festive period as Storm Bella is set lash parts of the UK on Boxing Day after homes and businesses were flooded in severe weather on Christmas eve.

An Amber national severe weather warning has been issued for parts of south Wales and across southern England, with gusts expected to reach up to 60-70mph in exposed coastal locations.

A yellow warning for wind for the whole of England and Wales as well as the far south of Scotland has also been issued and will be in force from 3pm on Boxing Day.

Flood defences have been installed in Ironbridge, Shropshire, ahead of Storm Bella. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flood defences have been installed in Ironbridge, Shropshire, ahead of Storm Bella. (PA Images via Getty Images)

It came as homes and businesses were flooded and dozens of people were rescued from vehicles after heavy rain fell on Wednesday.

A weather warning for rain stretched from East Anglia, across Leicester, parts of Birmingham and north London, and through to mid-Wales and Cornwall, and remained in place until 2am on Thursday.

Patrick Lloyd, 27, from Peterborough, said he woke up to find much of his home had been submerged in water, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Handout photo courtesy of Peter Lloyd of flooding at his home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire after heavy rain overnight.
Flooding at Patrick Lloyd's home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire after heavy rain overnight. (Peter Lloyd/PA)
Storm Bella weather warnings. See story WEATHER Rain. Infographic PA Graphics. An editable version of this graphic is available if required. Please contact graphics@pamediagroup.com.
Storm Bella weather warnings. See story WEATHER Rain. Infographic PA Graphics. An editable version of this graphic is available if required. Please contact graphics@pamediagroup.com.

He added that he had to help rescue an elderly neighbour who had become trapped without power.

Lloyd said the 86-year-old woman had eventually been taken to hospital after spending around 50 minutes in the “freezing” floodwater.

“Luckily a bloke driving by saw her and got out and helped us with her. We had to get the fire service out to get her on to a board and we lifted her out for an ambulance,” he said.

“We were worried about hypothermia, she spent a night in hospital, no idea if she made it or not.”

SUFFOLK, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 24: People drive through a flooded road following heavy rainfall on December 24, 2020 in Suffolk, United Kingdom . (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
People drive through a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Suffolk. (Getty Images)

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The BBC reported the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service received 500 calls for help on Wednesday as the downpours hit many parts of the country.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said they had handled more than 250 flood calls, with several properties inundated and multiple people rescued from their stranded vehicles.

Watch: Parts of UK remain flooded after heavy rainfall

The Environment Agency (EA) had issued more than 90 flood warnings for England as of 5am on Thursday, including 16 warnings related to the River Severn on the Welsh border.

Other areas covered by flood warnings included part of the Great River Ouse and the Chediston watercourse in Suffolk.

Nine further flood warnings were issued by Natural Resources Wales.

The Environment Agency also issued a further 149 flood alerts, which warn of possible flooding and urge preparedness.

Nottinghamshire Police said emergency services had been called to a report of a landslide near some homes near a former quarry at 11.40pm on Wednesday.

The force said a “small number” of properties have been evacuated, and police, fire and ambulance services, along with Mansfield District Council officials, were sent at the scene at Bank End Close in Mansfield to conduct safety assessments.

According to a Natural Resources Wales gauge, 60.4 mm of rain fell within 13 hours at the Trevethin reservoir in southern Wales on Wednesday.

Flood defences have been installed in Ironbridge, Shropshire, ahead of Storm Bella. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Flood defences have been installed in Ironbridge, Shropshire, ahead of Storm Bella. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Read more: UK weather: Transport and power warning issued due to strong winds

Some 44.6 mm of rain was also detected in Corby, Northamptonshire, in the same period according to Environment Agency figures.

The heavy rain caused disruption to travel, with many areas including Cardiff reporting surface water on the roads.

Alex Burkill, a meteorologist for the Met Office said: “There’s been a lot of wet weather around, we’ve had a heavy rain across much of England and Wales, particularly southern parts of Wales but also further east.

“Most places in England and Wales have been really wet and we’ve seen strengthening winds too, there have been some gales in exposed parts, so quite unpleasant really.”

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