UK weather: Torrential rain causes flood chaos across Britain

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Parts of Britain faced flood chaos today as the body of a woman was recovered from floodwater after drivers were stranded in their cars, train lines were blocked and people were forced to sleep in a shopping centre overnight.

A woman was swept away by flood water in Rowsley, Derbyshire, in the early hours before her body was found in Darley Dale at 10.40am following what residents of South Yorkshire described as 'almost biblical' amounts of rain.

Yorkshire and the Midlands were the worst affected areas, with six severe 'danger to life' warnings in place as fire crews were called in to help guide people to safety, while many rail and road users were warned against travelling.

Customers slept on benches while restaurant workers used their aprons as pillows at Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, while firefighters used boats to rescue others stranded at the Parkgate mall in nearby Rotherham.

A major incident was declared in Sheffield as the Environment Agency issued 121 flood alerts and 117 more serious flood warnings for England today, with the risk not expected to pass for many areas for several days to come.

Staff at Meadowhall handed out free drinks and tried to arrange taxis to help customers - including families with babies - while others bought pyjamas from a Primark which opened late and a Starbucks gave out free cookies.

Some 35 homes were evacuated in Mansfield after a mudslide at a quarry, while other areas were hit by traffic chaos amid road closures - with more of the same in this morning's rush hour after a further deluge overnight.

Rail operator Northern has issued 'do not travel' advice for passengers using five lines - Sheffield to Gainsborough, Sheffield to Lincoln, Sheffield to Goole, Hebden Bridge to Rochdale, and Sheffield to Leeds via Moorthorpe. 

Northern warned disruption could continue into the weekend, while other train companies hit by the weather include CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, LNER, TransPennine Express, Transport for Wales and Virgin Trains. 

Residents of Toll Bar, near Doncaster, which was hit by flooding in 2007, have told how 'almost biblical' rain came pouring down. Parts of the village were still submerged this morning, with locals on 'red alert' for further flooding. 

People are ferried to safety through the floodwater this morning by firefighters in Rotherham, South Yorkshire

People are ferried to safety through the floodwater this morning by firefighters in Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Sandbags arrive in a badly flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire this afternoon

Sandbags arrive in a badly flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire this afternoon

A woman is evacuated from her home in Doncaster today as the emergency services help the residents of South Yorkshire

A woman is evacuated from her home in Doncaster today as the emergency services help the residents of South Yorkshire

A resident looks out at the floodwater at his doorstep in Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire this morning

A resident looks out at the floodwater at his doorstep in Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire this morning

Andrew Hall carries his six year-old daughter Lillie-Mai through floodwater in Doncaster,

Firefighters provide provisions to an elderly woman in Rotherham

Andrew Hall carries his six year-old daughter Lillie-Mai through floodwater in Doncaster (left), and firefighters provide provisions to an elderly woman in Rotherham (right) today

People and their dogs are taken to safety in boats in Doncaster today following severe flooding in South Yorkshire

People and their dogs are taken to safety in boats in Doncaster today following severe flooding in South Yorkshire

An emergency service worker stands on a flooded road in Rotherham today as he tries to help people in need of assistance

An emergency service worker stands on a flooded road in Rotherham today as he tries to help people in need of assistance

A young man feeds a child a bottle of milk as his father pulls an inflatable boat over floodwater in Doncaster this morning

A young man feeds a child a bottle of milk as his father pulls an inflatable boat over floodwater in Doncaster this morning

Rotherham train station is under water today as railway services across South Yorkshire are hit by the flooding and heavy rain

Rotherham train station is under water today as railway services across South Yorkshire are hit by the flooding and heavy rain

Swineshaw in the Peak District saw 4.4in (112mm) of rain yesterday - the highest total in England - while flood-hit parts of Sheffield experienced 3.4in (85mm) during the same period. The November average there is 3.1in (79mm).

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: 'My thoughts are with all those affected by the floods in Sheffield, Rotherham and across the region. Thank you to the emergency services, council workers, the Environment Agency and volunteers who are working to help those whose homes have been flooded and those stranded.'

Flooding brings transport disruption as train firm warns 'do not travel'

Torrential rain has caused disruption on the transport network in parts of England, with train and road users urged against travelling on certain routes.

Several rail lines are blocked due to flooding, leaving thousands of commuters facing a struggle to get to work this morning, with Yorkshire and the North West particularly affected.

This includes lines from Sheffield to destinations such as Leeds via Moorthorpe, Lincoln, Doncaster and Goole.

Workers inspect flooded rail tracks at Rotherham station today

Workers inspect flooded rail tracks at Rotherham station today

Trains are also unable to run on routes such as Manchester Piccadilly-Cleethorpes, Leeds-Doncaster and Hebden Bridge-Rochdale.

Rail replacement bus services are not being provided due to road closures and unsafe driving conditions.

Motorists have also been advised against driving through deep water.

Network Rail, which owns Britain's rail infrastructure, said track inspections will take place 'where possible'.

Rail firm Northern warned that disruption could continue into the weekend despite the weather improving in many areas.

A spokesman said: 'We are still advising customers on several routes not to travel as flooding is making rail and road travel extremely difficult.

'Colleagues at Network Rail are inspecting the tracks and working hard to return them to normal, but at present we have no estimate as to when we will be able to operate services on the affected routes.'

He added that Northern will 'try to run as many services as possible'.

Other train companies hit by the weather include CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, LNER, Merseyrail, TransPennine Express, Transport for Wales and Chester, and Virgin Trains.

Workers inspect flooded rail tracks at Rotherham Central today

Workers inspect flooded rail tracks at Rotherham Central today

The downpours also caused disruption on roads as several routes were blocked and some vehicles were abandoned in floodwater.

Sheffield City Council said 14 of its roads were closed due to flooding as of 7am, and urged drivers to take extra care. Six of the roads were reopened by 8.20am.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: 'If you encounter any floods be very conscious of not driving through water that is too deep as this could very easily lead to catastrophic damage.

'Try to assess the depth by looking at the kerb or road signs and, if you decide it's safe to go through, drive at a steady speed so as not to create a bow wave, and try to use the highest part of the road. If there is any doubt, then it's probably best to turn around and take another route.' 

AA spokesman Ben Sheridan said: 'Heavy rain coupled with busy weekend traffic can make for some very challenging driving conditions. Drivers will need to take extra care and expect delays, even on motorways.

'Driving conditions can quickly deteriorate during very heavy rainfall, with drains becoming swamped or blocked and standing water causing problems such as surface spray, reduced visibility and potentially leading to flooding.'

Doncaster Council warned some people to leave their homes because the River Don is breaching its banks near St Oswald Church at Kirk Sandall, tweeting: 'Residents in these areas are advised to evacuate immediately.'

Residents on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster were having to be rescued from their homes by boats on Friday as waist-high water filled the street. Police cars surrounded the area as rescue teams put down sandbags.

One woman, who has lived in her home on the street for more than 20 years, said the downstairs of her property had filled with water at around 7am today. 'I've never known it to be this bad', she said.

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said she will have to house her daughter and grandchildren for the next few days as a result of the flooding. She said: 'We've just taken the decision to get out of here as soon as possible - it's dangerous as it is and it'll only get worse.'

Jason Richards, 44, described how water slowly trickled down Yarborough Terrace 'like a shadow' before eventually filling the street.

The resident, who has lived on the road for around 20 years, told how he was caught in last night's travel disruption as he returned home from Manchester, eventually arriving back to Doncaster in the early hours of today.

He said that, after going to bed, he discovered at around 9am that water was starting to surface outside his home.

'I swept it up with the broom at first, but every time I brushed it away more water just kept on coming back,' he said. 'You often hear people say that the water piles up really quickly, but here it was more like a shadow, slowly making its way down the road.'

Mr Richards said that the inside of his property had not been affected and that he believes the water level has potentially plateaued.

Around 25 homes in Worksop were also evacuated due to the risk of flooding. Damien West, head of prevention and protection at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted: 'In Worksop with Crews who are working tirelessly to rescue a large number of people from flooded premises. A very long, cold and hard working night.'

James Timpson, the chief executive of Timpson, the shoe repairs and key cutting high street firm, has said its shops in Worksop in Nottinghamshire, are under water following the heavy rain and will be closed until next week. 

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: 'Some places have seen a month's worth of rain in one day. The rain is easing and moving south but obviously the impact of that will continue to be felt.' 

Although the Met Office has predicted the flooding rains will clear and move south-east by lunchtime, hundreds of people were kept inside Meadowhall overnight due to flooded roads and gridlocked traffic outside.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they rescued more than 100 stranded people last night, with around 500 calls to its control room between 10pm and 4am.

Shopper Becky Laver told BBC Radio Sheffield: 'No-one looks happy, everyone looks miserable. People are having to buy their own pyjamas and quilts because of how cold and wet they are from the rain.' 

Jodie Whelan, 23, who works at the Disney store at Meadowhall, said staff were handing out free drinks and trying to arrange taxis. She got in for her shift by bus but said that getting back home was 'an absolute no-go'.

She told the BBC: 'The atmosphere is very weird but communal. Some people got a bit rowdy and it was upsetting seeing some older people and people with babies or children, but thankfully we are all warm and safe.' 

Luke Turner, who works at a restaurant at the centre, said he could not drive home so went to bed in the stockroom where he could use 'aprons' as a pillow. He told the BBC: 'I've got options, I could have got a taxi home.

'But that still leaves me having to get a taxi back to work tomorrow. I had an offer from my higher management that if I could get a hotel room for the night... but unfortunately all the hotel rooms around me are full.'

Meadowhall, which also flooded in 2007, had to cancel its Christmas Live event at the last minute yesterday evening, but only after many of the thousands of people expected to attend had arrived.  

This morning's weather

This afternoon's weather

Rain is continuing to affect parts of Britain today, with temperatures unlikely to get into double figures in many areas

The Environment Agency has issued 121 flood alerts and 117 more serious flood warnings for England today

The Environment Agency has issued 121 flood alerts and 117 more serious flood warnings for England today

Tomorrow's weather

Sunday's weather

Rain will continue to affect parts of Britain this weekend with temperatures getting to a maximum of 11C in the South West

Residents carry sandbags in a flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, as the area faces severe flooding today

Residents carry sandbags in a flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, as the area faces severe flooding today

Teenagers ride their bikes through floodwater in Doncaster today as some areas endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours

Teenagers ride their bikes through floodwater in Doncaster today as some areas endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours

Sandbags are distributed to the residents in a flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire today

Sandbags are distributed to the residents in a flooded area of Bentley, north of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire today

Some 35 homes were evacuated in Mansfield after a mudslide at a quarry which fell into a homeowner's garden yesterday

Some 35 homes were evacuated in Mansfield after a mudslide at a quarry which fell into a homeowner's garden yesterday

People carrying sandbags on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster today as parts of England endured a month's worth of rain

People carrying sandbags on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster today as parts of England endured a month's worth of rain

An emergency service worker stands at a flooded road in Rotherham today as the bad weather causes chaos

An emergency service worker stands at a flooded road in Rotherham today as the bad weather causes chaos

A driver stranded in his truck today is seen in the centre of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, following heavy rain overnight

A driver stranded in his truck today is seen in the centre of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, following heavy rain overnight

Residents in Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster look at the floodwater today following a deluge of rain in South Yorkshire

Residents in Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster look at the floodwater today following a deluge of rain in South Yorkshire

A man carries sandbags on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster today after parts of England endured a month's worth of rain

A man carries sandbags on Yarborough Terrace in Doncaster today after parts of England endured a month's worth of rain

Cars sit in floodwater in the centre of Rotherham, near Sheffield, this morning following heavy rainfall and severe flooding

Cars sit in floodwater in the centre of Rotherham, near Sheffield, this morning following heavy rainfall and severe flooding

While many of those inside managed to leave despite a partially flooded car park, some were forced to spend the night in the shopping centre, according to police.

'How can it be business as usual when it looks like Venice?!' Shoppers slam  Meadowhall for planning to open as normal today

Customers criticised Meadowhall for planning to open as normal this morning despite the shopping centre being surrounded by floodwater.

Hundreds of people were forced to say inside the mall in Sheffield overnight due to flooded roads and gridlocked traffic outside following severe rain in South Yorkshire.

But bosses told shoppers this morning that they planned to open as normal at 10am, as long as an amber warning - which is due to be lifted - has ceased by then.

Amy Drury tweeted: 'You're thinking more about money than people's safety! It's alright you opening but how are you expecting us to get in?'

Alice Barker added: 'You're not 'open for business' you're open water! How can it be business as usual when it looks like Venice outside?!'

And Richard Vernon said: 'Nice to see you've got your priorities straight... another reason I will always prefer to spend money in our city centre.'

Other shoppers slammed the mall for only cancelling its Christmas Live event at the last minute, which led to people becoming stranded as flooding worsened.

A Meadowhall spokesman said: Whilst the extreme weather conditions persist, the centre remains dry and secure.

'We will continue to monitor the situation and providing the Environment Agency has lifted its amber warning as forecasted, the centre will open at its normal opening time of 10am.'

With many surrounding routes flooded and trams stopping short of the complex due to 'heavy rain putting the Tinsley tram bridge at risk', gridlock led to police advising shoppers and concert goers to stay in the building.

Saskia Hazelwood, 17, from Doncaster, told how she was among those stranded in Meadowhall. She said: 'When we got to Meadowhall it was very hectic and we heard about the flooding and saw the river about to burst.

'Our trains were then cancelled so we went to get food, then spoke to the police and security and they told us it was unsafe to leave and there was no way of getting in or out.

'So we instantly started panicking and, when we found out there was no way of getting home, we went into Primark and all bought spare clothes and we bought food and drinks to keep us going throughout the night.

'We were in M&S for a while on the sofas until they closed the store, and we were then moved to the Oasis food quarter. We were there until 7am.'

Saskia, a student, added: 'We were provided with free refreshments throughout the night and morning but it was certainly not enough. We had to basically camp out in the food area until they finally got a taxi to us at 7am.

'None of us had slept for over 24 hours. We were very tired, stressed and, of course, our families were panicking and kept keeping in touch.

'My dad even tried driving to us around 11.30pm but, because the centre was gridlocked and also flooded and shut off, he wasn't able to get to us and so he had to turn around and go home.

'At the start we thought it would be fun, a nice sleepover, something to certainly remember, but after 14 hours of being stranded in Meadowhall we just couldn't wait to get home, get into our own beds, feel safe again, and catch up on sleep.'

A Meadowhall spokesman confirmed that the shopping centre would open as normal at 10am today.

She said: 'We anticipate that nearly 80,000 people visited Meadowhall yesterday and less than 30 customers remained in our building throughout the night.

'They were supported by night staff, security and members of the Meadowhall management team who, where possible, helped them to either secure hotel accommodation nearby or arrange taxis home.

'For those who were unable to get to their home safely or preferred to stay with us due to adverse weather conditions where they live, we looked after them by providing an array of blankets, coats and towels as well as a continuous supply of refreshments.'

Sheffield was particularly badly hit during flooding in summer 2007, which saw millions of pounds spend on prevention schemes.

Yet it was again hit by some of the most dramatic scenes yesterday, with a number of roads left impassable to traffic, cars stranded in floodwater and gridlock resulting on many routes. 

A dog is carried to safety in Doncaster today as parts of England endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours

A dog is carried to safety in Doncaster today as parts of England endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours

A man looks at Chantry Bridge as it sits partially in floodwater this morning in Rotherham, South Yorkshire

A man looks at Chantry Bridge as it sits partially in floodwater this morning in Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Vehicles sit in floodwater in Rotherham this morning after the town in South Yorkshire experienced intense rainfall overnight

Vehicles sit in floodwater in Rotherham this morning after the town in South Yorkshire experienced intense rainfall overnight

Emergency services at Kirk Sandall near Doncaster, Yorkshire, where the council ordered an evacuation this morning

Emergency services at Kirk Sandall near Doncaster, Yorkshire, where the council ordered an evacuation this morning

The mudslide, pictured today, which has forced the evacuation of residents of Bank End Close in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

The mudslide, pictured today, which has forced the evacuation of residents of Bank End Close in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

The aftermath of the mudslide, pictured today, which has forced people to evacuate their homes in Mansfield

The aftermath of the mudslide, pictured today, which has forced people to evacuate their homes in Mansfield

An abandoned car is pictured in a flooded car park in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, this morning

An abandoned car is pictured in a flooded car park in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, this morning

A member of the fire and rescue service wades through flood water as he escorts a JCB towing an truck in Rotherham today

A member of the fire and rescue service wades through flood water as he escorts a JCB towing an truck in Rotherham today

A bed in the window of a shop stands in flood waters after the River Don burst its banks in Rotherham today

A bed in the window of a shop stands in flood waters after the River Don burst its banks in Rotherham today

A couple wade through floodwater today in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, this morning after the River Don burst its banks

A couple wade through floodwater today in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, this morning after the River Don burst its banks

Rescuers help a woman get off an inflatable raft after ferrying her through floodwater in Rotherham this morning

Rescuers help a woman get off an inflatable raft after ferrying her through floodwater in

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