Storm Babet flooding and rain hits UK for third day running

21 Oct 2023


  • Storm Babet continues to batter parts of the UK, with high winds, torrential rain and severe flooding
  • Three people have died and a man remains missing in Aberdeenshire
  • The victims are a man in his 60s, caught in flood water in Shropshire; a 56-year-old driver, whose van was hit by a falling tree in Angus; and a woman, 57, swept into a river in Angus
  • Rail firm LNER has said passengers should not travel due to widespread flooding; three danger-to-life flood warnings have been issued around the River Derwent in Derbyshire
  • A further red weather warning - meaning there is a risk to life - has been issued for Saturday, covering parts of Angus and Aberdeenshire
  • Amber and yellow warnings are in place in parts of the far north east of Scotland and England, as well as Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and the Scottish Borders
  • The coastguard sent two helicopters to a drilling platform in the North Sea after anchors became detached - all people on board are accounted for


People 'have no idea' where they'll live after floods

Chesterfield is among the hardest hit places in England by this week's flooding. 

Toby Perkins, the Derbyshire town's Labour MP, says 400 houses have been impacted and businesses have been totally inundated by floodwater.

He tells BBC Radi4's Today programme: "Many of the people who live in this area are private renters, many of them don't have flood insurance because you can't get flood insurance if you're in an area that's prone to flooding. 

"So a lot of the people I was speaking to last night have no idea where they're going to be living from now."

Community help repair wall at River South Esk

We reported earlier that a wall attached to the River South Esk flood defences in Brechin was washed away overnight.

Angus Council erected barriers but local firms have provided large sandbags in an attempt to prevent the river breaching again.

The local authority said about 335 homes in the town have been evacuated.

  • Forecasters say another 70-100mm (4ins) of rain could fall on saturday in parts of Angus and Aberdeenshire already hit by severe flooding.
  • Three severe flood warnings have also been issued in Derbyshire, which mean there is a significant risk to life.
  • Three people have died since Thursday, when Storm Babet first took hold.
  • The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has warned Saturday’s rain “will prolong flooding impacts” and cause additional disruption.
  • Meanwhile, the flood warnings for England are in place at Derby City Water Treatment Works, Little Chester, Eastgate and Cattle Market, and Racecourse Park at Chaddesden.
  • The Environment Agency said flooding from major rivers could continue until Tuesday.

Marie Breitstrecher is the manager of the Wheatsheaf inn in Baslow, near Chatsworth house in Derbyshire

After the River Derwent broke its banks nearby, Marie and her team helped their neighbours to safety.

“The elderly couple next to us have a bungalow literally next to the river. Their whole bungalow is underwater and they stayed as long as possible.”

“It went from 0 to 100 within 15 minutes. We were like, ‘you need to leave, now’”.

Although the waters have since started to recede, there’s still debris on the roads and large holes in the roads.

“There's no power on the opposite side of the road, so we're just waiting for a bit of sunlight so we can go and assist.” Marie adds.

Farmers’ union: ‘There’s a lot of hardship to come’

Farmers in flood-affected areas have been hit by "massive damage", according to NFU Scotland vice-president Andrew Connon.

He tells BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that farmland, produce, and crops have all been affected.

Mr Connon says: "To have two red warnings on consecutive days is hugely alarming.

"This isn’t going to fix itself today or tomorrow, there’s a lot of hardship to come.

"You put a lifetime’s work looking after the land, and protecting the land is one thing.

"But for farmers to walk into the potato stores and there’s four feet of water, that has a massive impact."

Mr Conon adds that new and existing crops are being badly damaged.

He says: "The flood water coming over the river embankments can destroy them, particularly if they are under water for too long.

"But the severity of the water is actually washing some crops away altogether, and anything that is left will be rendered useless."

Flooding near major rivers to continue until Tuesday

Flooding is likely to continue in areas near major rivers until Tuesday, the Environment Agency has warned.

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the agency, says "severe river flooding impacts" are probable in parts of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire today and into Sunday.

She adds major river flooding is happening on the River Derwent in Derby and ongoing flooding is "probable on some larger rivers including the Severn, Ouse and Trent through to Tuesday".

The agency's teams are out on the ground and have operated flood barriers and storage areas, she says.

Temporary defences, including pumps and barriers, have been deployed to minimise the impact of flooding and flood gates have been closed in affected areas.

Disruption is continuing after mid and north Wales were hit by flooding caused by Storm Babet on Friday

Homes were damaged and cars became stranded in water. Several roads remain closed on Saturday.

Transport for Wales warns rail passengers to check before travelling on the Wales and Borders network with "disruption expected to continue".

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service says it received more than 60 flood reports on Friday.

People had to be evacuated from flooded homes and many schools were forced to close, including 52 in Flintshire alone.

Bronwen Hughes, head teacher at Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold, Flintshire, says the severity of the rain forced it to close on Friday.

"It was wasn't an easy decision but the waters were rising," she told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

Catcliffe resident: 'We can't access our homes at all'

Shortly after 02:00 this morning, flood defences for the river in Catcliffe, South Yorkshire, failed leaving part of the village "completely engulfed", says Pete Devaux, chair of the parish council.

"We've been told we can't access our homes at all," he says, adding that six feet of water flooded his street.

Around 50 residents have taken shelter in a community hall, and Mr Devaux says he hasn't been able to rescue anything from his house.

"At least one of my neighbours hasn't got any insurance and she's lost everything. She's got to start again."

He says the last time the village was flooded it took several months before the homes were fit to live in because they had to be dried out.

‘We’re not out of the woods by a long shot’

Angus remains the worst hit area in the UK. so let's bring you the latest from the council in that area.

Jacqui Semple, who is in charge of risk, resilience and safety for Angus Council, begins a briefing by thanking people for all their offers of accommodation and help.

She goes on to say: "We have an improving picture and the red warning and amber warnings have been reduced in timescales until 6pm this evening.

"We're not out of the woods by a long shot, there is still a lot of rain to come through, but less so."

The rest centre in Montrose will close, the Forfar rest centre is under review and the Brechin rest centre will remain open into tomorrow.

She adds probably upwards of 80 to 100 people have been rescued right across Angus via boats and helicopter.

BBC News 21 October 2023











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