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UK orders urgent evacuations amid dozens of severe flood warnings

A major incident has been declared and emergency evacuations are underway amid severe flood warnings.

Heavy and blustery downpours will continue to drench Britain for at least the next two days in the wake of Storm Franklin.

There are two severe flood warnings, 116 warnings and 118 alerts in place in England as the wild weather sweeps in.

A further six warnings and 14 alerts cover Wales, while in Scotland there are two warnings and one alert.

The River Severn will bear the brunt of the lashings, where rising water levels pose a “significant danger to life” and residents are urged to “act now”.

Anyone living nearby has been told to move possessions and valuables off the ground or to safety and to turn off gas, electricity and water.

Hundreds have already been evacuated, and the Met Office “strongly recommends” others move out from behind the defenses due to the risk of their homes becoming engulfed.

A home engulfed by floodwater from the River Severn after successive storms hit the UK on February 22, 2022 in Ironbridge, England.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Andrew Blair, landlord of the Royal Hill pub in Edgeley, Shropshire, said water was “above the hedges” and “everyone’s houses are filling up”.

The warnings have pushed police to declare “major incidents” in Worcestershire and Shropshire, with some told only to remain at home if they have enough food, water and medical supplies to last at least a week.

It follows the hammering of Storm Franklin which saw winds of 87 mph recorded at the Needles on the Isle of Wight on Sunday night, and 79 mph gusts in Capel Curig in Wales on Monday morning.

While the worst of the storm – the third to batter the nation in a week – is over, there is plenty more “unsettled” weather to come.

Two yellow weather warnings for wind and snow are in force for southeast Scotland and northeast England from 6 am tomorrow, with gusts of up to 60mph expected.

Then “frequent heavy snow showers” will hit Scotland and Northern Ireland on Wednesday, where there is also a chance of lightning, power cuts and danger to life from flying debris.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “Storm Franklin may have cleared away and the weather looks calmer for much of this week, but it’s far from calm.

Mick Malkinson walks through flood water near his home after the River Wharfe overtopped its banks, following high rainfall from Storm Franklin, in Tadcaster, England, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
Mick Malkinson walks through flood water near his home after the River Wharfe overtopped its banks, following high rainfall from Storm Franklin, in Tadcaster, England, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
Danny Lawson/PA via AP

“It’s still at times going to be pretty lively.

“The next weather system approaching will bring most of us some rain during the first part of Tuesday.

“It is going to be raining hard across western Scotland and Northern Ireland first thing on Tuesday, and a wet morning rush hour across northwest England and north and west Wales.

“There will be rain at low levels, but over the hills there will be some snow mixed in.

“Then the next weather system coming in bringing rain across the northwest, strengthening winds.

“Dry for much of England, but still blustery with the rain picking up once more on Wednesday.”

Blustery conditions

People start to clean up following flooding after the River Wharfe overtopped its banks in Tadcaster.
People start to clean up following flooding after the River Wharfe overtopped its banks in Tadcaster.
Danny Lawson/PA via ZUMA

The showers and strong gusts will bring “difficult driving conditions for many”.

Brits were yesterday urged not to travel, and further disruption is expected today.

Flights to Manchester Airport were diverted to London Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, East Midlands, Newcastle and Dublin as strong winds meant it was too dangerous to land in the North West.

Gusts also paralyzed train networks, with reduced services running since last week’s Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice.

All three storms left 1.4 million households without power, some for as long as 72 hours.

As of Monday, 30,000 remained in the dark, though UK Power Networks last night said 98 percent of properties had had their electricity restored.

Further showers, wintry over higher ground, are expected tonight, with clearer conditions bringing rural frosts further south.

Then tomorrow, “frequent and blustery” downpours will lash the north, turning to snow by the evening.

And there is yet more rain forecast for Thursday and into the weekend, with “blustery wintry showers” in the north and west.

A goose swims past cars stuck in flood water after the River Ouse overtopped its banks in York, England, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
A goose swims past cars stuck in flood water after the River Ouse overtopped its banks in York, England, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
Danny Lawson/PA via AP

The latest weather misery comes after ferocious Storm Eunice killed four people and plunged millions of homes into darkness on Friday, and Storm Dudley wrecked homes and cars last week.

The treacherous conditions led to travel chaos, flight cancellations, power cuts and police forces being inundated with calls.

Train networks were plagued by flying debris – and there was extensive damage to buildings and homes with the roof of the O2 ripped off.

Two adults were forced to take refuge on the roof of their 4×4 and a relative had to rescue a baby from the back seat after it became stuck in floodwater during Storm Eunice.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said the vehicle became stranded after driving through a brook in the village of East Leake on Friday.

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Heavy rain, affecting already wet areas, is likely to cause significant river flooding along the River Severn until Wednesday.

“We have teams out on the ground taking preventative action, closing flood gates, deploying temporary barriers and moving pumps and other response equipment to areas of highest risk.

“While a handful of properties have sadly flooded over the past few days, Environment Agency defenses have protected more than 40,000 properties despite record river levels.

“We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.

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