Published on 23 Dec 2015

More heavy rain brings Christmas flood risk

Christmas is just a few days away and there are no signs of any let-up in the unsettled weather that we’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks.

With the festive period being a time of year when many of us are on the move visiting family and friends around the country, the weather is always in our minds.

Whilst the weather won’t offer any snow on Christmas Day this year – unless you live on a mountain in Scotland – there’ll be yet more wind and rain spreading across the country.

Flood warning sign in a flooded city street

In fact, later on Christmas Day and through Boxing Day, there is the potential for heavy rain to bring more flooding problems to areas that have suffered recently.

More heavy rain expected

Whilst heavy rain is expected intermittently during Wednesday and Christmas Eve, which may cause minor flooding problems, the main concern is later on Christmas Day and through Boxing Day.

A developing area of low pressure will bring a weather fronts northwards across the UK that may become slow-moving – bringing heavy rain to the same places for prolonged periods of time.

Even though there is still some uncertainty as to where the heaviest, most prolonged rainfall will be, the places most likely to experience it will be north west Wales, north west England and south west Scotland.

boxingday_low_MO_wp

These are areas that have all had a tremendous amount of rain in the past two months, meaning that the ground is saturated and simply unable to soak up any more water.

As a result, relatively modest amounts of rainfall will have the ability to cause flooding – especially across Cumbria, where some flood defences remain weakened.

Weather warning issued

The Met Office has issued an orange “be aware” warning for Cumbria, and a yellow “be aware” warning for the rest of north west England, along with north west Wales and south west Scotland for later on Christmas Day and through Boxing Day.

In these areas, there is the potential for 60-80mm to fall widely, with as much as 150mm over the hills boxingday_warning2_MO_wpand mountains.

Given the inability of the ground to soak up any more water, river levels could rise very quickly and cause flooding – possibly in areas that have already been hit in recent weeks.

There could also be some disruption to road and rail travel, with surface water flooding affecting travel routes, as well as the possibility of minor landslides.

The Environment Agency is providing three day flood risk forecasts, which highlight the places most at risk a few days ahead, as well as providing constant flood warning updates.

Looking further ahead, the unsettled weather is likely to continue into the New Year, meaning that the risk of flooding and disruption is unlikely to diminish any time soon.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. You can also follow my updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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