Storm Dennis brings third day of disruption to UK, causing commuter misery

17 February 2020, 19:06 | Updated: 17 February 2020, 19:16

Motorists faced treacherous driving conditions with roads flooded around UK
Motorists faced treacherous driving conditions with roads flooded around UK. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Britain is facing transport chaos after being hit by a third day of disruption due to Storm Dennis.

Heavy rain over the weekend caused flooding which blocked a number of roads and rail lines.

More than 90 flights at Heathrow were cancelled on Monday due to the knock-on effect of what the airport described as a "technical issue".

This came after hundreds of flights were cancelled at airports across the UK due to the bad weather on Saturday and Sunday.

Motorists continued to face treacherous driving conditions on Monday, with roads flooded around the country.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis warned that the impact of Storm Dennis "will be felt by drivers for some time yet".

He said: "Aside from the current road closures, with so many flood warnings still in force, there is a very real risk more roads will be affected by flooding over the next few days.

"It's vital drivers take no risks - if they can't be sure the water is shallow enough to safely drive through, turning around and finding another route is always the best option."

The AA was called out to rescue more than 400 vehicles stuck in water or mud over the weekend, which was more than double the total when Storm Ciara hit one week earlier.

Flooding and fallen trees caused chaos to train services on Monday.

Storm Dennis has swelled rivers to "exceptional" levels in parts of Britain
Storm Dennis has swelled rivers to "exceptional" levels in parts of Britain. Picture: Getty

CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Northern, South Western Railway, Southern, Thameslink and Transport for Wales were among the operators with delays and cancellations.

Trains from Swindon towards Bristol Parkway were unable to run.

No services could operate through Mitcham Junction in south London as the electric third rail was switched off due to flooding.

Rotherham Central station was closed until at least Tuesday due to flooding.

A fault with the signalling system in the Welwyn Garden City area also caused major disruption between Stevenage and London King's Cross.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Just as with Storm Ciara last weekend, Storm Dennis has had a significant impact on the railway.

"The heavy rainfall, combined with already waterlogged ground conditions, has led to flooding in a number of areas across the network.

"Our engineers have been working in extremely difficult conditions throughout Sunday and overnight to clear the tracks and keep passengers moving.

"The majority of services are now running as scheduled, but we do still urge anyone travelling over the next couple of days to check before they travel at www.nationalrailenquiries.co.uk."

Torrential rain from Storm Dennis has swelled rivers to "exceptional" levels in parts of Britain, with more forecast to fall later this week, the Environment Agency (EA) warned.

Communities across the country are counting the cost of the weekend's storm which has left more than 400 properties flooded.

Among the worst affected areas were South Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire where major incidents were declared.

Around 1,000 staff were on duty, with 5km of flood barriers deployed and 90 pumps in action, the EA said.

It warned the flood risk continues, with further heavy rain forecast in the north of England for Wednesday and Thursday, possibly falling on already flooded areas.

One woman, swept away by floodwater near Tenbury in Worcestershire on Sunday, was feared dead by police as a search resumed on Monday.

Emergency evacuations were also underway in Hereford, where the River Wye reached its highest level on record.

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