The UK is set for more weather disruption this weekend, with experts warning that Storm Dennis could be even worse than Storm Ciara.
The country is set to be battered strong winds and rain for the second weekend in a row as Storm Dennis sweeps in hot on the heels of its predecessor.
On Saturday morning British Airways and easyJet had already confirmed flight cancellations, while weather warnings are in place across the country, including warnings that flooding could case danger to life.
John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, said Dennis could be even worse than last weekend’s weather, with heavy rain falling on already-saturated ground.
“This (storm) could be a step up from what we have seen before,” he said. “We had a big storm last weekend, (we now have) saturated catchments, snowmelt and rainfall, so it is a perfect storm.”
Heavy rain and strong winds were set to strike the country from Saturday morning, with wind speeds forecast to reach 70mph along coastlines and some parts of the country expected to see up to 4.7in (120) of rain.
The Met Office has issued eight weather warnings covering most of the UK this weekend, including amber warnings from midday on Saturday over southern Scotland, northern England, Wales and part of the South West saying that flooding could cause a danger to life.
More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday have been cancelled due to the weather and British Airways has also confirmed cancellations, while anyone hoping to fly is advised to check their airline’s website for the latest updates.
A BA spokesman said: “We are merging a small number of Heathrow short-haul flights to the same destination and using larger aircraft where possible to minimise disruption.”
A spokeswoman for easyJet said: “Due to forecasted adverse weather conditions caused by Storm Dennis, easyJet, like other airlines, is currently seeing disruption to its flight programme for Saturday February 15th.
“We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the disruption for our customers and to arrange alternative travel.”
The cancellations come as the British Army was deployed to help “exhausted” residents in the flood-hit Calder Valley ahead of Storm Dennis.
Calderdale Council said all its teams were working hard ahead of the next storm and six community “flood hubs” set up this week will remain open but its resources have been stretched due to the impact of last weekend’s Storm Ciara, so it welcomed the additional help from the 4th Infantry Brigade.
Troops will support organisations, residents and businesses on the ground, the council said.
Alongside travel disruption, including to road and rail, power cuts are also expected due to Storm Dennis.
Yellow weather warnings are in place up and down the country throughout Saturday and as of 11pm on Friday, there were 12 flood warnings — meaning flooding is “expected”, and 141 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible – in places across the country.
The Met Office said the “main areas of concern” on Saturday are north and south-west England and Wales, with the South East bearing the brunt more on Sunday.
Flood defences are in operation this weekend, with additional temporary flood barriers installed in Shropshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Surrey.
Newly-appointed Environment Secretary George Eustice said authorities were “fully focused on ensuring that communities are protected”.