17/02/2020 18:37 GMT | Updated 19/02/2020 08:36 GMT

Storm Dennis Devastates Homes Amid 'Danger To Life' Warnings And More Rain Expected

Rain swells rivers to record levels as police fear extreme UK weather has claimed its fifth victim.

There are nine severe flood warnings active across England and Wales following Storm Dennis, with heavy and blustery showers forecast for Tuesday.

Warnings are in place in England for the River Trent at Burton upon Trent; the River Wye at Blackmarstone in Hereford and at Hampton Bishop; the River Severn at Uckinghall, New Street and Waterside in Upton upon Severn; and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop.

In Wales, there are two severe warnings in place on the River Wye at Monmouth in what Natural Resources Wales calls both “defended” and “undefended” areas.

At 3.30am, the level at Monmouth was 7.03 metres and rising. A peak level of approximately 7.2 metres is expected to occur between 4.30 and 8.30am on Tuesday morning. 

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
An aerial view of the Welsh village of Crickhowell which has been cut off as the river Usk bursts its banks near the Bridge End Inn.

Residents in Upton upon Severn and Uckinghall, in Worcestershire, are being advised to evacuate, with water levels expected to rise on Monday evening.

Emergency evacuations were also under way in Hereford, where the River Wye reached its highest level on record.

Further heavy rain is forecast in the north of England for Wednesday and Thursday, possibly falling on already flooded areas.

Meanwhile, police have found a body in the search for a missing woman who was swept into flood water in Tenbury, Worcestershire on Sunday.

She has been named by West Mercia Police as 55-year-old Yvonne Booth from Great Barr in Birmingham.

Four others have died as a result of the latest bout of extreme weather.

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Flooding from the River Wye in Hereford following Storm Dennis.
A man wades through flood water in Hereford.
A flooded rRver Wye in Hereford.

The aftermath of the storm caused transport disruption on Monday, as train lines and roads were blocked by flooding and fallen trees.

The AA said nationally it had attended more than 400 vehicles stuck in water or mud over the weekend, more than double the number under Storm Ciara a week ago.

In Hereford, residents were advised that flooding could trigger periodic power cuts, and some roads were closed.

Locals in the inundated area around Hereford described “devastating” flood scenes that struck roads, a business park, the railway line and homes.

Greg Smith, who took drone images of the flooding, said: “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The Environment Agency’s David Throup said the water was at “truly exceptional levels”, adding: “They are the highest levels we’ve ever recorded on the River Wye and those records go back 200 years.”

Meanwhile, people living near Eastham Bridge in Worcestershire described 48 hours of chaos as they lost count of the number of vehicles – including a fire engine and a petrol tanker – caught in floodwaters.

Rachel Cox inspecting flood damage in her kitchen in Nantgarw, south Wales.

Over in South Wales, one of the worst-hit areas was the village of Nantgarw, near Cardiff, where entire streets were left underwater from the early hours of Sunday morning.

Jeanette and Rachel Cox had a “terrifying” evacuation from their home in Oxford Street after waking at 4am to the floodwater.

“Everything downstairs has completely gone,” said 68-year-old Jeanette, who was only able recover a wedding day photo of her with husband Bill, who died from cancer in 2009.

Natural Resources Wales said provisional data indicated the River Taff at Pontypridd had reached its highest level for over 40 years.

As of 4.30pm on Monday, six severe “danger to life” flood warnings from the agency were in place for the River Wye, River Severn and the River Lugg.

Some 420 properties were flooded by Storm Dennis and 18,500 protected, with both figures expected to rise, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

The prime minister resisted calls to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, Cobra, to tackle the flooding crisis.

Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary, said it was a “disgrace” that Boris Johnson had “refused” to visit affected communities.

Environment secretary George Eustice defended the government’s response, saying it was not possible to protect every house from flooding and pointing to £4bn of funding committed to flood defences in the next five years.

A record number of flood warnings and alerts, more than 600, were issued by the EA across England on Sunday, with this falling to below 500 on Monday afternoon.

The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings for snow and ice over parts of Scotland from 6pm on Monday, with further warnings of persistent rain in Wales for Wednesday and Thursday.