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February 15, 2020

UK braces for Storm Dennis

Top Story

P
Pa
February 15, 2020

LONDON: Disruption to transport is expected as heavy rain and strong winds are set to batter the UK for a second consecutive weekend.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings ahead of the arrival of Storm Dennis, covering England, Wales and large parts of Scotland on Saturday, and the entire UK on Sunday.

These include amber warnings stating that flooding could cause a danger to life, power cuts are expected and there is a good chance transport links will be impacted. Winds of up to 70mph and severe downpours are forecast.

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: “Storm Dennis will bring a disruptive spell of weather over the weekend, and there are warnings in place for strong winds and heavy rain. In parts of Devon, South Wales, northern England and a swathe of southern England - stretching from Andover eastwards - rainfall is expected to be particularly heavy and persistent, and these areas are covered by amber warnings because of the risk of flooding and other disruption.”

The Environment Agency said there is a “heightened risk of flooding” across much of southern, central and northern England this weekend.

As of noon on Friday it had issued 12 flood warnings for England - where flooding is “expected” - and 97 flood alerts, where flooding is “possible”. Flood defences will be in operation, and additional temporary flood barriers were installed in Shropshire and Lancashire on Friday ahead of the anticipated deluge. Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have teams out across England today continuing to prepare for the severe weather that we are expecting over the weekend. The above-average rainfall that we have seen since the autumn means that we’ll be seeing rain falling on already wet ground, leading to an increased risk of flooding.”

Network Rail advised passengers to expect disruption on many routes due to flooding and allow more time for their journeys. Tracks could be flooded as the ground near parts of the railway is already saturated, particularly in the North West. Cross-border journeys between England and Scotland were severely restricted last weekend.

Network Rail’s network services director Nick King said: “As we saw last week, stormy weather brings high winds that can lead to trees and other debris falling onto the railway, and floods that prevent us from running trains on parts of the network.

“That is why we are again asking passengers to check their journeys before they travel this weekend, either with their train operator directly or through National Rail Enquiries. Our teams of engineers will again be out working at all hours and in all weathers to remove fallen trees and debris from the railway, repair damaged infrastructure and work to reopen lines affected by flooding.”

Households living near rail lines are being urged to secure any loose items in their gardens, after several trampolines were blown onto tracks and overhead electric wires last weekend, blocking lines.

The storm is also likely to cause treacherous driving conditions.

AA Patrol of the Year Ben Sheridan said: “The forecast looks bleak across the UK with warnings for wind and heavy rain which will significantly reduce visibility on the roads. For those who are braving the storm, drivers should make sure they account for the conditions. Slow down, allow for greater stopping distances and watch out for potential hazards.”