Den­nis the men­ace brings ‘per­fect storm’

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By He­lena Hor­ton

A “PER­FECT storm” of heavy rain, strong winds and melt­ing snow is set to flood homes and lead to half-term get­away chaos to­day.

Storm Den­nis is fore­cast to be worse than last week­end’s Storm Ciara, and will bat­ter swathes of the coun­try with 70mph winds and up to 140mm (5.5in) of rain in some ar­eas in just 24 hours.

Net­work Rail is warn­ing that train tracks will flood, and the RAC told mo­torists to ex­pect long de­lays as they con­tend with “dread­ful con­di­tions” on the roads. Some sail­ings across the Ir­ish Sea have al­ready been can­celled, while it is feared the weather will fur­ther dis­rupt flights.

Hun­dreds of homes could be evac­u­ated as Den­nis strikes, with the En­vi­ron­ment Agency last night warn­ing Britain to ex­pect the worst flood­ing of the win­ter.

Teams are al­ready in York­shire putting out sand­bags as peo­ple pro­tect their homes from yet another del­uge, and in Cum­bria they are clear­ing de­bris from Ciara to cre­ate room for flood­wa­ter.

Many towns and vil­lages have not yet re­cov­ered from Ciara, and the wa­ter has yet to drain away from flood plains and other de­fences. Some of the worsthit ar­eas faced snow af­ter the last storm, and this will melt as the heavy rain hits this week­end, caus­ing even more wa­ter to flood into stricken com­mu­ni­ties.

Heavy rain­fall in Devon and also in the South East will cause disruption to trans­port, but in parts of Lan­cashire, York­shire and Cum­bria there are fears of se­vere flood­ing. Paul Davies, the prin­ci­pal me­te­o­rol­o­gist at the Met Of­fice, said: “With Ciara, the rain was heavy but swift. With Den­nis, we are con­cerned about the longevity of the rain­fall.”

“This could be a step up from what we have seen be­fore,” said John Curtin, the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of flood and coastal risk man­age­ment. “We had a big storm last week­end, [we now have] sat­u­rated catch­ments, snowmelt and rain­fall, so it is a per­fect storm.”

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