National Severe Weather Warning

Persistent heavy rain will lead to significant accumulations of rain which could lead to flooding in some areas. An Amber National Severe Weather Warning for rain has been issued for parts of northern and central England. Separate Yellow warnings for rain, wind, snow and ice cover large swathes of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Amber rain warning area includes Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Wakefield, Nottingham and Leicester and is valid until 6am on Thursday. Within the Amber warning area rainfall accumulations could reach up to 200mm in parts of the southern Pennines and northern Peak District, 40-70mm could be seen more widely.

An Amber warning has also been issued for snow covering parts of south west Scotland, valid from 6pm Wednesday evening to 8 am Thursday morning. 5-10 cm of snow is expected to accumulate across most of the warning area, with 10-20 cm above 200m elevation and perhaps around 30 cm above 400 m.

As the low pressure system moves out into the North Sea on Wednesday night and through Thursday, it will pull in colder air from the north west. This cold air will make precipitation on the back edge of the system fall as snow over parts of Scotland. As well as the Amber snow warning, there are two further Yellow warnings for snow covering parts of Scotland and north west England. Within these warning areas as much as 20-30cm of snow could accumulate over 400m, with 20-15cm down to 200m in elevation. A couple of centimetres of snow could even accumulate to lower levels. Some snow could also accumulate over the highest parts of the Pennines however this is less likely to be disruptive. There are also two warnings for ice tonight covering Northern Ireland, North Wales and north west England.

Flood risk

Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said “Storm Christoph will bring a mix of notable weather hazards across the UK over the next few days. Some locations in central Northern England and Wales could see a month’s rain fall in just a couple of days, with up to 200mm possible over higher ground. These amounts of rainfall present a real threat of flooding and people should keep a close eye on flood warnings from the Environment AgencyNatural Resources Wales and SEPA.

Snow risk

“As the system moves away into the North Sea on Wednesday night and Thursday morning we start to see the potential for hazardous snow as cold air is pulled across the UK from the north west. Notable accumulations of snow, up to 30cm in places, are possible in parts of Scotland. With the cold air in place across the whole of the UK temperatures will drop as we move into the weekend with a return to overnight frosts for many.” 

Although Friday will be drier with more sunshine, the delayed response of some river systems means there will be ongoing flood risks in some areas.

The Environment Agency

Craig Woolhouse, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

“We’re expecting surface and river water flooding to affect parts of northern England today and then northern, central and eastern England on Wednesday and Thursday, which could cause damage to buildings in some communities.

“Heavy downpours falling on already saturated ground may also cause flooding more widely across England from today until Saturday for slower responding rivers. Localised flooding on roads and land is also likely across central and southern England on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Environment Agency teams are out on the ground clearing grilles, screens, deploying temporary flood defences and closing flood barriers. We urge people to keep away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.  

“People should check their flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at via Gov.uk or follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.” 

Into the weekend the feed of cold air from the north west is likely continue, with further wintry showers into the northwest.

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