Police declare ‘critical incident’ after Storm Jorge flooding

Police have declared a "critical incident" following flooding triggered by Storm Jorge in south Wales.

South Wales Police made the announcement following a night of flooding and severe weather related incidents.

It comes as Storm Jorge is expected to bring more rain, up to 12 inches of snow and 70mph winds in the UK's fourth weekend of storm chaos in a row.

A total of 70 flood warnings are in place across England and Wales, mostly in the south west and along the English-Welsh border, as well as Yorkshire.

There are also 197 less serious flood alerts.

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The force said: "The emergency services, jointly with local authority planning departments, local health boards, and organisations such as Natural Resources Wales and utility companies, are working continuously to ensure the safety and welfare of those affected, minimise damage to infrastructure and property, and minimise disruption."

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service took 72 calls between 6pm on Friday and 6am on Saturday.

As well as making travel on the roads dangerous, the rain has blocked the railway between Rhymney and Penarth.

Superintendent Andy Kingdom said: "Indications are that the rain is set to stop and river levels will soon recede.
"There is still significant surface water and debris on the roads throughout the force area so we would advise people only to travel if absolutely necessary."

Areas badly hit included Pontypridd, which was also flooded two weeks ago, and the Ely area of Cardiff.

  • UK weather forecast: Storm Jorge batters country with rain, snow, ice and wind

The police warned people to stay in doors in less absolutely necessary, steer clear of danger such as rivers and monitor local and social media for updates.

Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: "From Saturday Storm Jorge will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of the UK, with potentially heavy snowfall being a hazard for parts of Scotland.

"Areas above 400 metres could see accumulations of 20-30cm of snow, with lower areas – roughly above 250 metres – seeing accumulations of up to 10cm.

"Storm Jorge is not expected to bring wind gusts as strong as Storms Ciara or Dennis, but it will still bring gusts of 60 to 70mph in some exposed locations during the warning period, which ends at midday on Sunday.

"But it's worth saying that parts of the south and east of the UK, once the rain clears early on Saturday, should often be bright, windy and cold over the weekend."

Four tonnes of sandbags were being laid overnight in East Cowick to help divert water, while 60 properties were at risk of flooding in nearby Lidgate, the East Riding of Yorkshire council said in a statement.

The council later said water from the washland around Snaith was being pumped into the River Don, rain had forced closures on the A164 and Pontefact Road was being sandbagged as a precaution.

But the worst of the wet weather will pass as lunchtime comes around.

Forecaster Emma Salter from the Met Office said rain was expected to continue until about 11am, before sunshine dominated through the middle of the day.

Persistent snow is expected across higher ground in Scotland and people have been warned to expect travel disruption on road, bus and rail routes.

The Met Office warnings persist into Sunday, with most of the country braced for more strong winds, and Scotland for yet more snow.

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