Storm Dennis brings flooding as it hits the UK

Two bodies pulled from the sea amid second straight weekend of weather disruption

Eyewitness footage from London's Heathrow airport captures an Airbus A380 pilot struggling to land in powerful crosswinds caused by Storm Dennis. Video: Speedbird TV/Reuters

 

Storm Dennis has led to a second straight weekend of weather disruption and flooding in the UK, with heavy rain and strong winds affecting the country.

Two bodies were pulled from rough seas on Saturday before the worst of the storm hit.

A body was found off the coast of Kent after lifeboats and the coast guard helicopter scoured the sea near Margate Harbour following reports of a man overboard. A distress call was received at 5.41am on Saturday and an extensive search of the area began.

“At around 1pm, after many hours of searching, a body was sadly found in the water by the RNLI Margate lifeboat and has been brought to shore,” a coast guard spokesman said.

In the other incident, Kent Police were called at 12.15pm on Saturday to a report a person had been pulled from the sea in Herne Bay.

Britain’s ministry of defence (MoD) has deployed army personnel to assist people in West Yorkshire, which was badly hit by flooding during Storm Ciara last weekend.

Flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and easyJet confirming cancellations.

More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday have been cancelled, while several sporting fixtures were also called off due to the weather.

People in the west of Scotland were advised on Saturday against travelling by train as Storm Dennis caused disruption across the country.

The level of the river Ouse rises in York, North Yorkshire, on Saturday as Storm Dennis sweeps in. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
The level of the river Ouse rises in York, North Yorkshire, on Saturday as Storm Dennis sweeps in. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

The US National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Centre reported winds up to 148km/h and waves that could reach more than 30m high across the North Atlantic early on Saturday.

Forecasters were expecting winds to reach 112km/h along coastlines, while some parts of the UK could witness up to 12cm of rain. Experts have warned that conditions amount to a “perfect storm”, with hundreds of homes at risk of flooding.

Weather warnings

The Met Office has issued eight weather warnings covering most of the UK this weekend. These include amber warnings from midday on Saturday over southern Scotland, northern England, Wales and part of the southwest, saying that flooding could cause a danger to life.

The MoD said 75 personnel from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, will help construct barriers and repair flood defences in Ilkley and Calderdale, while 70 reservists from 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, have also been tasked with providing support where required.

The UK Environment Agency said flooding was likely to be worse than under last weekend’s Storm Ciara due to rain falling on already saturated ground. In England alone, 800 properties were left flooded when Storm Ciara struck, it said.

North Wales Police said very high winds had led to debris and branches falling off trees, and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued a motorist from a car stuck in flood water in the Liskeard area.

A man surfs in the sea in Bournemouth, England during Storm Dennis on Saturday. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA
A man surfs in the sea in Bournemouth, England, during Storm Dennis on Saturday. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Power cuts are also expected and there is a good chance that trains and buses will see cancellations or delays and roads closed.

The Met Office said the “main areas of concern” on Saturday were north and southwest England and Wales, with the southeast bearing the brunt more on Sunday.

At just after 1pm on Saturday, there were 17 flood warnings – meaning flooding is “expected” – and more than 180 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – in places across the country.

Flood defences are due to be in operation this weekend, with additional temporary flood barriers being installed in Shropshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Surrey. – PA