After a Boxing Day battering, Northern Britain is bracing for more bad weather. Storm Frank is due to strike on Tuesday evening (December 29), with the Met Office warning Cumbria and south and central Scotland are at the greatest risk.
Nine severe flood warnings — meaning danger to life — are in place across the UK.
With vast swathes of northern England swamped as rivers broke their banks, the government has ordered a major overhaul of its flood prevention strategy.
The counties of Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester have been engulfed.
York has been one of the worst hit areas. Its famous Jorvik Viking tourist attraction was inundated, although staff say the most-important artefacts have been saved.
One York resident called for more action:
“We were not here, but according to our neighbours no one came down the street saying it was real emergency. There were no sirens or tannoy. Politicians are using this “aren’t our soldiers wonderful” (idea) to deflect from the fact that they have made funding decisions which have led to these areas being… They are hiding, as ever.”
Known as the “floods minister,” Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, was at one of the flood water discharge sites.
“This is a huge priority for everybody. The army is here and fire and rescue here. I honestly do not believe more support could be provided. We’re putting everything into this area. This is not a question of people just coming up on visits, this is people working right the way through Christmas. And that’s not just me, it’s all the emergency services, a lot of volunteers. This is a huge effort,” he said.
Power lines have been down, roads closed and around 250 people evacuated, police say.