Freezing temperatures hit many parts of the UK overnight last night, bringing the prospect of more hazardous conditions for areas already struggling to recover from recent floods which hit regions across the country. It is feared that this additional hazard may hinder clean-up efforts of many areas which remain flooded.
Four people have died this week in connection to the floods and hundreds of homes were evacuated across the country, including as many as 500 in St Asaph, where the River Elwy reached a record high of 4.35 metres and burst through flood defences. Other severely affected towns and cities include Salisbury, Oxford, Abingdon, Sunbury, York and Gloucester, where Tewkesbury Abbey became an island surrounded by flood water after the River Severn burst its banks.
Though rain generally eased on Tuesday night and the number of flood warnings and alerts issued by the Environment Agency significantly dropped over the last 24 hours, there are still 106 flood warnings and 118 flood alerts in place. There were still severe disruptions to public transport yesterday, especially in Oxford where water had covered part of the train tracks. The Environment Agency warned that some rivers, including the Thames, Trent and Severn, remain at very high levels despite the improving weather and said that it could be some time before floodwaters to subside, as teams work around the clock to shore up defences. Prime Minister David Cameron has praised emergency services and all those who have been involved in attempts to tackle the flooding.
The UK is now set to see several days of dry weather before the rain returns at the beginning of next week. Last night temperatures dropped dramatically across the UK, to as low as -6C in mid-Wales. Joanna Robinson, weather producer for Sky, said, “there’s still a risk of flooding, as recent rain works its way through the river systems, but ice and freezing fog will become additional hazards over the next few days.”
Sources include: Metro, The Guardian, Sky News
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