Weather: The UK is enduring the worst series of winter storms in more than 20 years, weather experts have said, as the country prepares for further flooding.
The Environment Agency yesterday issued 73 flood warnings across England and Wales urging people to take immediate action, while a further 218 areas were on flood alert last night. Coastal areas, particularly in southern England, are most at risk of flooding due to a combination of unusually high tides and another Atlantic storm.
December rainfall in the west of Scotland was 90 per cent higher than average, while overall Scottish rainfall was nearly two-thirds above the long-term average, with more on the way this week. People have been urged to remain vigilant near waterways and the sea.
Hundreds of properties have been affected by power cuts in the last two days, and around 2,000 people have received flood alerts, according to environment minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP.
The Met Office last night issued yellow weather warnings for ice and rain, predicting river and surface flooding as well as travel disruption, mainly in south Wales and the south-west and south-east of England.
A severe deep freeze affecting most of Canada and much of the eastern United States is intensifying the jet stream over the Atlantic and the storms it is carrying straight into Britain and Europe. North America will hit plunging temperatures of -50C, when factoring in wind-chill, as tens of thousands of people remain without power.
However, Scotland might see a respite later this week. Met Office forecaster Matt Row said: “It does look like things will begin to ease from midweek and we will have near-normal January weather. It will be less wet and windy from Wednesday.”
Mr Wheelhouse said prevention work had “helped to limit the impact of flooding in Scotland” over the last week, while the majority of properties affected by power cuts were reconnected within six hours.
He added: “While Sepa and the Met Office continue to monitor the impact of the weather, and people should remain vigilant, particularly around coastal areas and waterways, I am pleased to say our investment in prevention and the fast-acting work of our agencies means that, while some localised impacts were suffered, Scotland has not been exposed to the same level of flooding impacts and weather damage as other parts of the UK and as have been experienced in Scotland in previous years.”
In Oxford, a 47-year-old man died when his mobility scooter fell from a flooded path into a river. A Thames Valley Police spokesman said the man’s death was being treated as unexplained, but was not believed to be suspicious. His next-of-kin has been informed.
Searches resumed yesterday in south Devon for missing university student Harry Martin, 18, who was last seen leaving his home to take photographs of the weather. More than 100 people volunteered to look for him.