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Greater Manchester declares major incident in preparation for Storm Christoph

The Guardian logo The Guardian 19/01/2021 Maya Wolfe-Robinson
a car driving down a busy highway: Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Greater Manchester has become the latest area to declare a major incident as swaths of central and northern England brace for the arrival of Storm Christoph.

South Yorkshire has also declared a major incident in preparation for potential flooding. The Met Office issued an amber weather warning for rain between Tuesday and Thursday for an area covering Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and stretching down to Peterborough.

Nick Bailey, Greater Manchester police assistant chief constable, said heavy rainfall was expected on Tuesday evening, which could cause flooding in several areas across Greater Manchester.

He said: “Whilst we appreciate that everyone has been told to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, we want to make it clear that should members of the public need to evacuate to protect themselves due to flooding then that is the priority and you should follow your local authority’s advice regarding evacuation.”


Gallery: Snow across the Midlands. (Birmingham Mail)

Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster, said emergency protocols were instigated in South Yorkshire with sandbags handed out in flood-risk areas. She said plans would run alongside the region’s Covid-19 response, adding: “I do not want people to panic, but flooding is possible so please be prepared.”

People living in areas previously devastated by the floods are preparing for the worst to happen again as Storm Christoph moves in. Residents in villages in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, who have been flooded several times in recent years, are bracing themselves as many mount flood defences in preparation for overnight flooding.

a car driving down a highway: Traffic in heavy rain on the A1(M) near Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. © Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Traffic in heavy rain on the A1(M) near Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

Villagers in Fishlake, South Yorkshire, which was cut off by the floodwaters just over a year ago, hope they are better prepared this time. Flood warden Peter Trimingham said the sandbags delivered outside homes in Fishlake were a boost to worried residents. “It’s a very, very welcome sight for villagers, it gives us confidence,” he said.

The National Flood Response Centre is coordinating the response as Storm Christoph moves in, Downing Street said, but no meeting of the Cobra emergency committee has yet been announced.

The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “If there are any plans for a Cobra we will obviously set them out in the usual way. But the National Flood Response Centre has been stood up and is coordinating the cross-agency and government operations on this.

“The important message whilst the alerts are in place is that we urge everybody to follow the Environment Agency’s advice and check their flood risk and sign up to alerts.”

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