People warned to stay out of flood water in North Yorkshire

This story was published 16 February 2020

Storm Dennis is leaving its mark on North Yorkshire today (Sunday 16 February) with significant flood water laying on many roads and there’s a warning that some river levels will continue to rise for the next few days.

Motorists are advised against driving into flood waters

As predicted, rainfall levels across the amber areas in the Pennines in particular were 60-80mm. That water is now filtering through watercourses into streams and rivers and will continue to do so for a number of days.

As a result, the multi-agency response team managing impacts in the county and City of York, is issuing a strong warning to the public.

Group Manager at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Lee Smith, said: “There may be a view that because the rain is easing away the problem is over – that’s not the case and the impact of the rainfall will continue to become apparent over the next hours and days.

“We appeal to the public to continue to stay safe and to heed all warning signs and messaging.

“We are grateful to the vast majority of people who have listened to our advice to prepare and take care. However, we now have widespread flooding across a number of roads in the North Yorkshire particularly and it’s vital people don’t take risks.

“Already today a number of motorists have had to be rescued from flood water and that’s really disappointing given the number of warnings we have been issuing.

“I would also like to reiterate the call to people to stay away from rivers and other areas of open water. Many are swollen and that may well get worse. Water may be fast moving and dangerous.”

Richard Flinton, Chair of York and North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum said: “If you drive into flood water you could be putting your life and the lives of the emergency services who will likely need to rescue you – at risk. Please don’t do it.

“Be extremely cautious about respecting water laying on roads - it can be deep and fast moving. As we become aware of issues we are responding dynamically but even if there is no road closed sign do not assume it’s safe to drive through.

“Water levels can rise quickly and you do not know what is underneath the water – there could be highways damage or other hazards.

The response to Storm Dennis in York and North Yorkshire is being managed via the area’s Local Resilience Forum - a multi-agency partnership with a strong track record in preparing for potential impacts form a range of emergencies and managing recovery.

It is led by the County Council but includes: North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, The City of York, Richmondshire District Council, Hambleton District Council, Rydale District Council, Scarborough Borough Council, Selby District Council, Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council, Northern Power Grid, The Environment Agency and the Met Office and Mountain Rescue teams and the Coast Guard. Working as NYLRF, the partners routinely work together to plan for emergencies and mitigate their impact.

Together these agencies have been working flat out to help communities prepare for the impact of the storms over the past two weeks - providing resources and targeting those where they are needed most.

Superintendent Sam Millar of North Yorkshire Police said: “By sharing real time information and the latest forecasts and impacts we have helped communities to be prepared and it’s inspiring to see how they have responded. Sandbagging, offers of loans of 4x4 vehicles, contingency planning and community spirit have been evident in many areas.

“We are not out of the woods yet so please continue to help us by looking after yourself, your property and your communities and keeping up to date with the latest information.

“Particularly important is the need to adhere to road closed signage. We are still getting reports that some people are driving past them or removing them. Not only is that a big risk to yourselves and your property it is an offence so please leave all signage in place – we will remove it when it is safe to do so.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:“ With the significant rainfall and strong winds forecast this weekend, and the unpredictable levels of snow melt, we are closely monitoring the situation with partners.

“We have spent the last few days strengthening our flood defences and will today and tomorrow continue to help the residents in the most at-risk locations with sandbags to protect their homes and businesses. And we’re taking precautions to keep our fantastic city open so residents and businesses can enjoy all York has to offer.

“We ask that people continue to keep an eye out for the latest information and alerts from the Environment Agency which provides river levels for the next 36 hours in York , and look out on friends and neighbours who may need support. And above all, stay well away from the rivers and flood water.”

Details of road closures, weather forecast, river water impacts and advice and guidance is available here:

www.northyorks.gov.uk/stormdennis