Met Office say February was 'wettest on record' after West Yorkshire water levels ease

Hundreds of flood warnings and alerts remain in force following the wettest February on record.

Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 11:15 am
Updated Thursday, 5th March 2020, 12:44 pm

The downpours, which started with Storm Ciara and continued with Storm Dennis and then Storm Jorge, contributed to record river levels which saw hundreds of emergency staff working on flood defences and pumps, clearing debris and repairing damaged defences across the country.

Many townspeople in Calderdale and Kirklees including Brighouse, Dewsbury, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Mirfield, Mytholmroyd, and Todmorden, suffered severe damage to their properties and businesses after the storms swept across the region.

Although heavy downpours have eased off, giving way to largely cold and bright conditions, local authorities are still faced with significant clean-up operations once flooding risks subside and water levels reduce.

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Mytholmroyd on Sunday 9 February morning as Storm Ciara swept across the region

Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded as areas were deluged by more than a month's worth of rainfall in just 24 hours, while some 127,000 properties were protected by flood defences this winter, authorities said.

Some 15 rivers in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire recorded their highest levels on record and the Environment Agency warned the country needs to brace itself for "more frequent periods of extreme weather like this" because of climate change.

The Government has said it is investing £2.6 billion in flood defences by 2021.

A total of 85 flood warnings were in place across England and Wales, mostly in the South West and along the English-Welsh border, and in Yorkshire, while a further 173 "flooding is possible" alerts are also in force.

Flooding in Mirfield

It represented a reduction of five flood warnings and a reduction of 42 alerts since Saturday evening.

More than 3,300 properties in England are thought to have been flooded as a result of the combined effects of storms Ciara and Dennis, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said.

The leap year does not affect the wettest February record data, the Met Office said.