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Storm Dennis: Amber weather warnings put in place as widespread flooding expected
13 February 2020, 19:35
The Met Office has heightened weather warnings across the UK due to the risk of flooding posed by Storm Dennis.
The fourth named storm of the 2019-2020 season will hit the country from Saturday morning, bringing strong winds and heavy rain.
A total of three new amber warnings covering areas of high land and associated rivers have been issued for a 24-hour period over the weekend.
Forecasters predict "very heavy rain" will strike areas around the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor in Devon from 3pm on Saturday to 3pm on Sunday.
Meteorologist for the Met Office Tom Morgan told LBC News: "Storm Dennis hasn't actually formed yet, but it will be in America in the next few hours before making its way across the Atlantic to the UK.
"It will hit Saturday morning and we have several weather warnings across the country for wind and rain."
"This will be different to last weekend's Storm Ciara because its defining feature will be the severity of the rain, not wind.
On Sunday, a fourth amber warning for areas south of London, stretching from Andover in Hampshire eastwards, has also been issued from shortly after midnight until 6pm.
Conditions are likely to bring flooding to homes and businesses, causing damage to some buildings, the Met Office warned.
Fast flowing or deep floodwater is also likely, "causing danger to life", while trains, buses and roads could be hit by closures, cancellations and delays.
There is a risk of communities being cut off by flooded roads and power cuts in affected areas.
Three large yellow warnings for strong winds and heavy rain also cover all of England, Wales and southern Scotland from between 9am and midday on Saturday.
The rain and wind is expected to track east throughout the weekend, with the warnings for England and Wales lasting until late on Sunday night.
The wind warning over Scotland will grow on Sunday to encompass the whole region, including Northern Ireland, persisting until midday on Monday.
Mr Morgan continued: "During Storm Ciara wind speeds reached up to 97mph whereas during Dennis they are expected to be between 50mph inland and 70mph around coastal regions.
"The places we are most concerned about is southwestern England, South Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire where we can expect between 120-140mm of rain to fall over two days.
"This expected to bring flooding with some communities being cut off. We recommend people living in these areas to keep in touch with the latest weather reports.
"Then on Sunday, there are weather warnings for the South East on England, including places like Hampshire and the south of London.
He continued: "Although the rainfall will not be as severe as it will be for south-west England and Wales, this area could see 80mm of rain.
"These areas can expect flooding, power cuts and heavy wind, although not on par with Ciara.
"The good news is that Storm Dennis is expected to go away on Sunday. It will be a cooler start to next week but it will remain unsettled, it will be windy but not as much as over the weekend."
Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Remember to never drive or walk through floodwater, just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car - it's not worth the risk."
The AA has urged the public to follow safety advice on the roads, with Ben Sheridan, AA patrol of the year, saying: "Take extra care when passing high-sided vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes, and watch out for sudden gusts, which can blow debris, trees and even damaged vehicles into your path."