Storm Christoph 'danger to life' weather warning triggers emergency response in England

19 January 2021, 14:53 | Updated: 19 January 2021, 17:37

Environment Agency staff have been installing flood barriers in preparation for Storm Christoph
Environment Agency staff have been installing flood barriers in preparation for Storm Christoph. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Towns and cities across England have spent overnight preparing for Storm Christoph as a 'danger to life' weather warning comes into effect in the UK.

The National Flood Response Centre has been called in to coordinate the response to Storm Christoph, Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday, while heavy rain has already caused problems in Yorkshire and Oxfordshire.

Homes and businesses have been given sandbags and flood barrier equipment to install on doors and windows as they prepare to be hit hard by the storm which has caused a 'danger to life' weather warning.

Read more: 'Major incident' declared in South Yorkshire as Storm Christoph brings danger to life warnings

Bolton in Greater Manchester has seen the most rain so far, reaching 24.4mm between midnight and 8am on Tuesday.

A Cobra meeting has not yet been announced but could be a possibility if there is significant enough damage caused and requires a major national response.

On Tuesday evening, Greater Manchester Police declared a major incident in preparation for Storm Christoph fully hitting the city.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters: "If there are any plans for a Cobra we will obviously set them out in the usual way.

"But the National Flood Response Centre has been stood up and is coordinating the cross-agency and Government operations on this.

"The important message whilst the alerts are in place is that we urge everybody to follow the Environment Agency's advice and check their flood risk and sign up to alerts."

A major incident was declared yesterday in South Yorkshire, prompting emergency services, councils and multiple agencies to work together to speed up preparations.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones tweeted on Monday evening: "Key risk areas have been inspected over the past 36 hours, sand-bags have been handed out in flood-risk areas & will continue over the next 24 hours."

The Environment Agency has told people at risk of severe flooding to "act now" by moving valuables upstairs, turning off the gas, water and electricity supply and moving themselves and any pets to safety.

The Agency on Tuesday morning issued 15 flood warnings and 117 less serious flood alerts across England.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association (LGA) has advised people to check with councils to keep up to date with advice as the storm moves through.

The LGA said in a statement: "They will share flood warnings and other relevant information so people should make sure they regularly check their council's website and social media and follow their advice."

Flood barriers are being prepared in York and other parts of UK as Storm Christoph hits
Flood barriers are being prepared in York and other parts of UK as Storm Christoph hits. Picture: PA Images

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said that rain is "initially" the main concern but the picture will change as the country expects to face a "timeline of different hazards" this week.

He explained: "As we go through the week and the low pressure that is bringing these fronts of rainfall that are persistent and heavy over the next few days ... as that low pressure moves east and out into the North Sea, the winds will become a thing really later in the week.

"Also as the low pressure moves away it pulls down a north-westerly airflow which brings much colder air across the UK again which then presents a further risk of snow."