RESCUE teams have worked tirelessly over the last 24 hours saving drivers from their cars as Storm Christoph turned roads into rivers.
Almost 300 flood alerts have been issued across the UK with the Met Office issuing an Amber warning for rain today.
⚠️ Read our UK weather live blog for the very latest news and forecasts.
Emergency services were called to rescue a Morrisons delivery van driver last night after his vehicle got into difficulties while trying to cross the river WearCredit: PA:Press Association
In Yorkshire, a lorry tipped over on the M62 motorway because of the strong winds from Storm ChristophCredit: PA:Press Association
The driver of a van veered off the road last night in Mountain Ash, South WalesCredit: Huw Evans Picture Agency
Almost 300 flood alerts have been issued across the UK today
Weather warnings for heavy rain are in force across the country, and the unsettled conditions could also bring significant flooding, high winds and snowfall as the storm engulfs the country through the middle of the week.
Storm Christoph wreaked havoc overnight and this morning with heavy winds causing one lorry on the A62 to tip onto its side in the strong winds.
The accident led to several road closures.
Floodwaters have already risen in parts of the country, with a motorist pictured stranded in Leicester, and workmen in York preparing flood defences on Tuesday morning near the city’s River Ouse.
Last night a supermarket delivery driver was rescued from the top of his van after it was swept away while apparently crossing a ford.
He was trapped in the River Wear at Westgate, County Durham, at around 5pm on Tuesday, in the dark, surrounded by the fast-flowing water which was swollen with snowmelt.
Water specialists from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service braved the river in a raft attached to a nearby footbridge and gave the man a life jacket.
Emergency services in Durham were filmed rescuing the delivery driver from a Morrisons vanCredit: North News and Pictures
Flooding has been at the highest level for the past 10 years in Welney, NorfolkCredit: GEOFF ROBINSON.
A person was saved from the River Cray in Orpington, South East London last nightCredit: London News Pictures
The river Wye burst its banks causing main roads to flood in Powys, WalesCredit: London News Pictures
He was eventually brought to safety and was taken to hospital.
The fire service tweeted a dramatic video of the scene, saying they were “so proud” of the water rescue team.
They said: “On arrival our crews took immediate action, in what was challenging conditions, to ensure the driver was rescued.”
In Suffolk heavy winds blew down a tree which landed on a Fiat 500 car.
Incredibly the tree fell on the bonnet, inches from the driver’s seat – saving the driver’s life.
“If the car had been a split second earlier, the tree would have landed right on the driver’s head and killed him” said one officer today.
Police tweeted “First casualty of the bad weather…this convertible Fiat 500 had an oak tree fall on top of him as he was driving along. Amazingly no injuries.”
Train services have been hit by Storm Christoph which has flooded lines and made it dangerous.
Replacement bus services for commuters are running between Shrewsbury and Machynlleth due to flooding.
Busses are also replacing trains between North Llanrwst and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and Transport for Wales says there are no services between Shrewsbury and Wrexham General because of flooding between Gobowen and Chirk.
There are delays of up to 15 minutes on Avanti West Coast and Transport for Wales services between Holyhead and Bangor due to speed restrictions caused by the weather.
Natural Resources Wales has issued one flood warning and 17 flood alerts for North Wales as torrential rain continues to batter the region.
A Cobra meeting was held yesterday to discuss the possibility of using soldiers to respond to the major flooding across the country after Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire declared major incidents during Storm Christoph.
Speaking to The Telegraph, a Ministry of Defence source said that soldiers were most likely to be deployed today, if at all, in response to the disruptions across the country.
Today, Boris Johnson told MPs that he will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee in response to the storm.
The PM told the Commons: “Our sympathies also go out to those affected by the latest floods.
“I want to thank the Environment Agency and our emergency services for the work they’re doing to support those communities, and I’ll be chairing a Cobra meeting later on to co-ordinate the national response.”
Downing Street said Covid-secure evacuation centres would be made available to those forced to leave their homes as a result of flooding.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are live to that issue, should evacuations be needed.
“Preparations to create Covid-secure rest centres have been made. They have been made by relevant agencies as a precautionary measure.
“We will ensure Covid-secure rest centres if they are needed.
“The important message for the public now is to continue to monitor the information that the Environment Agency are providing and sign-up for flood alerts if they haven’t already.”
Tuesday also saw disruption to transport, with Network Rail reporting delays and some line closures in the North West in the evening.
A driver had a lucky escape after a tree blew onto the bonnet of their car because of the strong winds last night
A car sits stranded under a bridge in St HelensCredit: Richard Long/News Images
Train tracks are submerged in rain following heavy rainfall from Storm ChristophCredit: Mercury Press
The storm has caused concern for people living in areas devastated by the floods at the end of 2019, who say they are preparing for the worst to happen again.
However, residents of Fishlake, South Yorkshire – which was cut off by the floodwaters just over a year ago, said they are much better prepared this time with many having sandbags dropped outside their properties on Tuesday.
As of 5am, the Environment Agency has issued 37 flood warnings and 167 less serious flood alerts across England.
A major incident was declared in both Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire ahead of the expected heavy rainfall.
North Yorkshire County Council said more than 15,000 sandbags were at the ready around the county.
Parts of the UK could see two months’ worth of average rainfall in just two-and-a-half days as Storm Christoph sweeps across the nation.
The Met Office’s most serious weather warning – amber for rain – has been in place across parts of the Midlands and northern England since Tuesday morning, while a less serious yellow warning is in place across the rest of England, parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Simon Partridge, a Met Office forecaster, explained: “It’s not a traditional sort of storm, it’s going to be windy but it’s not based on the wind strength at all, it’s really down to the disruption that’s being caused by rain.
“There are already parts of Cumbria that have already seen over 80mm of rain since midnight on Tuesday and there’s a large number of places that have seen 50mm, and we are going to see further rain over the next 24 to 36 hours.”
Honister Pass in Cumbria saw 77mm of rain between midnight and 6pm on Tuesday, according to Environment Agency figures.
Mr Partridge said the storm meant that some areas could see double the average amount of monthly rainfall over a few days.
He said: “Those areas that have seen between 50mm and 70mm already, the warning is out until midday on Thursday, so an extremely long period, but by then we could see up to 150mm to possibly 200mm of rainfall.
“The Midlands for example, their average rainfall total for the whole month is 73mm, so they could easily get double that in the course of two, two and a half days.”
A lorry was abandoned on the flooded road in Welney near the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border yesterday afternoonCredit: Bav Media
A flood warden inspects Hebden Water last nightCredit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images