One hospitalised and 200 others rescued from caravan park as Storm Kathleen brings flooding chaos

9 April 2024, 13:16 | Updated: 9 April 2024, 14:03

Multiple weather warnings are in place
Multiple weather warnings are in place. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Flaminia Luck

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One person has been taken to hospital with hypothermia and over 200 others have been taken to safety after a river in West Sussex burst its banks following Storm Kathleen.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue said 180 people were evacuated from Medmerry Holiday Park in Earnley overnight and about 20 people have also been evacuated from Bracklesham Caravan and Boat Club, after the River Arun burst its banks.

They added they were still dealing with three severe flooding incidents in Earnley, Littlehampton and Bracklesham.

Some train lines and roads in the area have been flooded causing disruption for rail passengers and motorists.

A refuge centre has been set up amid the widespread flooding.

Warnings are in place for people to get to higher ground as water levels have not yet receded.

Firefighters evacuate an elderly resident in Littlehampton, West Sussex
Firefighters evacuate an elderly resident in Littlehampton, West Sussex. Picture: Alamy

Wynn Engineering owner Rob James said water had got through a flood barrier into his Littlehampton workshop, affecting machinery.

"I don't know if they will work again," he said, adding it could take weeks or months to fix the damage.

The 63-year-old criticised the lack of warning before Monday night's flooding, adding: "We're all out of the same boat here. Everyone's wet.

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"No warning whatsoever from any of the Government, council, Environment Agency. People are proper angry about them."

He said his business had put more barriers at the back door to the workshop ahead of the next high tide, but added: "There is no flood defence down here."

'Scary and unprecedented'

Another resident from Shoreham-by-Sea said flooding in the town was "scary and unprecedented", after he stayed up until the early hours putting flood defences around his property.

Gareth Theobald, 36, told the PA news agency: "I was out the front of the building and watching the water just get higher and higher and higher, and then helping or stopping traffic going into the floodwaters, and then just watching in disbelief as the whole of Brighton Road and our multimillion-pound development was being engulfed by floodwaters."

The industrial relations officer added: "The amount of water is scary and unprecedented and those houses opposite our development are lower-ground flats and they were all flooded under a foot or so of water."

A car drives through flood water in Littlehampton, West Sussex
A car drives through flood water in Littlehampton, West Sussex. Picture: Alamy

Flooding has brought traffic and travel disruption to many other parts of southern England, including the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Bristol and Somerset.

There are two yellow weather warnings are in place on Monday and one for rain on Tuesday.

Monday's rain warning covers a large section of Scotland and another for wind covers west Wales and coastal north west England.

Tuesday's rain warning covers coastal west Scotland.

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The forecaster has warned of possible flooding and damage to some buildings, some communities could also be temporarily cut off by flooded roads. There is also a slight chance of power cuts and loss of other services.

Spray and flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures, together with possible delays or cancellations to train and bus services.

Coastguard personnel look on as waves crash over the harbour wall onto the street on in St Ives, Cornwall
Coastguard personnel look on as waves crash over the harbour wall onto the street on in St Ives, Cornwall. Picture: Getty Images

Forecasters warned that heavy rain and strong winds would continue to batter parts of southern England, western Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland over the next few days.

The Environment Agency issued 38 flood warnings and 169 flood alerts across England as of Monday morning.

Kathleen is the 11th named storm of the 2023/24 season and brought disruption to weekend travel with strong winds reaching 70mph and rain affecting much of the UK and Ireland.

Oli Claydon, meteorologist from the Met Office, said: "Certainly for the wind warnings, it's that combination of the high tide as well.

"If you're near the coastline do take care, don't get too close to any sort of edges or seafronts because you're likely to see some waves overtopping at times and there could be debris being flown around the coastline.

"With the rain warnings, it's just a case of knowing your flood risk."