Woman dies after being swept away by floods in northern England

Resident flee ‘biblical’ deluge as a month’s worth of rain falls in one day in several areas

A member of the Fire and Rescue service wades through flood water as he passes an abandoned car on a flooded road in Rotherham, northern England on Friday. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

A member of the Fire and Rescue service wades through flood water as he passes an abandoned car on a flooded road in Rotherham, northern England on Friday. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

 

A woman died on Friday in Derbyshire after apparently being swept away by floodwater as parts of the midlands and northern England were battered by a month’s worth of rain in one day.

The body of the woman, who has not been identified, was recovered in Darley Dale, near Matlock, at about 10.40am on Friday, Derbyshire Police said.

She was reported to have been swept away by floodwater in Rowsley in the early hours. The woman’s next of kin have been informed.

The death came as the UK’s Environment Agency repeated warnings for people to stay away from swollen rivers, with residents describing the deluge as “almost biblical”.

Yorkshire and the midlands were the worst-affected areas, with six severe “danger to life” warnings in place around the river Don on Friday afternoon.

Fire crews were called in to help guide people to safety while rail and road users were warned against travelling on certain routes.

The Environment Agency reduced its number of flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – to below the 60 mark on Friday afternoon, with forecasters predicting the worst of the rain had been and gone.

Peak District

Swineshaw in the Peak District saw 112mm of rainfall during Thursday – the highest total of anywhere across England – while flood-hit parts of Sheffield experienced 85mm during the same period.

The average monthly rainfall total for Yorkshire at this time of year is 89mm.

People’s cars were getting submerged in the water, gardens were ruined, you couldn’t drive anywhere. It was carnage

The Environment Agency said river levels peaked in Sheffield and Rotherham overnight, and were starting to fall, although they were still high in the Doncaster area, with further flood impacts anticipated over the coming 24 hours as water travels downstream.

Residents in Toll Bar, near Doncaster, made comparisons with deluges which devastated communities in the summer of 2007.

Toll Bar post office worker Kathleen Overton (61) told the PA news agency: “It was almost biblical, I would say. You were just looking out of your window in disbelief at how much of it was coming down.

“People’s cars were getting submerged in the water, gardens were ruined, you couldn’t drive anywhere. It was carnage.”

Waist-high water

Residents on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster were having to be rescued from their homes by boats on Friday as waist-high water filled the street.

Jason Richards (44) described how water slowly trickled along “like a shadow” before eventually filling the street.

Another resident, 24-year-old Lacey Hanrahan, told how she and her baby had to be taken on a boat when water started coming into her home.

She said: “It got to the point where I wasn’t able to walk out, so I was taken out on the boat.

“I just can’t believe how deep the water has got.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service said it rescued more than 100 stranded people on Thursday night, with around 500 calls to its control room between 10pm and 4am.

Stranded

Elsewhere, around 30 people sought refuge in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield due to gridlocked traffic outside as the extreme weather conditions meant those turning up for the Christmas lights switch-on were left stranded.

Sheffield was particularly badly hit during flooding in summer 2007, which saw millions of pounds spent on prevention schemes.

Rail operator Northern issued “do not travel” advice to passengers, with services between Hull, Leeds, Lincoln and Manchester affected.

Alex Burkill, meteorologist with the Met Office, said: “Some places have seen a month’s worth of rain in one day.

“The rain is easing and moving south but obviously the impact of that will continue to be felt.” – PA