Press release

Environment Agency urges people to check flood risk ahead of Christmas getaway

With wet and windy conditions expected from Friday and into the Christmas weekend, the Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk - especially if driving or staying in an unfamiliar location.

Flood risk

Heavy rainfall is expected across parts of the north-west of England and the Pennines on Friday, and possibly again later on Saturday and on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day sea levels will be high in the east of the Country particularly Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. These wet and windy conditions bring a low risk of flooding to land and roads.

Driving through flood water can be life-threatening – just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.‎ People staying away with friends or family should check the flood risk for their route and destination. The Environment Agency recommends that people stay away from swollen rivers, flood water, and coastal roads and promenades in a storm.

Environment Agency teams are out on the ground clearing river trash screens and removing blockages from rivers. Staff from the Environment Agency, supported by the British Army, will be on standby throughout the festive period and ready to respond wherever needed. The Environment Agency will also support local authorities responding to any surface water flooding.

Chris Wilding, Environment Agency Flood Risk Duty Manager, said:

Storm Barbara will bring rain and wind on Friday, and further heavy rain is forecast on Saturday night and into Sunday. We want to make sure everyone gets home safely. It’s easy to check our warnings and alerts or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates

Environment Agency teams are on standby throughout the festive period and will issue flood warnings and alerts where necessary. This winter, we are more prepared than ever for severe weather. There are 6,500 staff trained to respond to flood incidents, 500 flood support officers and 1,200 soldiers on standby. We’ve also invested in new kit including 40km of temporary flood barriers and 250 high volume pumps.

Keep up to date with the latest situation at, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates

Published 21 December 2016
Last updated 22 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Weather impacts have changed.
  2. First published.