Hundreds of people have been told to leave their homes as weeks of heavy rainfall continue to cause heavy flooding across northern England.
West Yorkshire Police said it responded to the “worst flooding in 70 years” and declared a major incident with 100 soldiers deployed in the hardest-hit areas of Calderdale and Leeds where the swollen River Aire rose to 3 metres – its highest level ever recorded.
Last night, there were more than 220 warnings and alerts in England and Wales, 24 of them so severe that lives may be at risk.
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the flood-hit historic city of York on Monday as cities, towns and villages across northern England battled to get back on their feet following devastating storms.
The Ouse is more than five yards above its normal summer levels and is predicted to keep rising until lunchtime today, when it is expected to reach 5.8 yards.
The EA said pumps in the Foss Barrier were at risk of electrical failure due to water entering the building and a decision had been taken to lift the barrier.
The government denies the charge and says it is increasing real-terms spending on flood protection.
“The flood barriers have made a difference – both the permanent ones and the temporary ones – but it’s clear in some cases they’ve been over-topped, they’ve been overrun, and so of course we should look again at whether there’s more we should do”.
Rescue work… Members of the emergency services search for residents in need of rescue after the adjacent River Foss burst its banks in York.
Local newspaper editorials accused him of prioritising areas of the South with “state-of-the-art flood defences” and claimed the “completely avoidable” levels of flooding witnessed by Yorkshire would not be allowed to happen in London and the South East.
The Pallister family was advised to leave their home while their children still wearing their pyjamas. JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images Furniture is seen piled high in the window of a house on a flooded residential street next to the River Foss, after it burst it’s banks in York, northern England, on December 28, 2015.
The Army and specialist emergency flood units earlier this week were called in to rescue the elderly including a care home in Croston, Lancashire.
Flooding saw parts of Leeds inundated.
And the Greater Manchester flood recovery appeal, supporting people with flooded homes, community organisations and residents groups, has raised around £53,000, following a donation of £50,000 from the Forever Manchester community foundation.
Electricity North West warned that some properties may be without power until Monday.
“A further 1,000 military personnel are being held in reserve should the situation worsen”, Cameron’s Downing Street office said in a statement, calling the flooding an “unprecedented event”.
Around 500 properties were flooded in the city yesterday.