Downpours bring flooding misery as election campaigning continues in the rain
Torrential rain in the north of England leaves road and rail lines closed while homes have been evacuated in Mansfield.
Homes have been evacuated and roads flooded following torrential rain across central and northern parts of England on Thursday.
Thirty-five homes were cleared out as a precaution in Mansfield after a mudslide in the area while customers were kept inside Meadowhall Shopping centre near Sheffield due to gridlocked traffic outside.
The weather has also caused train services to be cancelled and Northern Rail issued a “do not travel” warning to commuters using three routes, saying flooding had closed the lines between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln and Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria.
By 9pm on Thursday, the Environment Agency has issued 98 flood warnings, mainly in the Yorkshire region, and 116 flood alerts.
Nottinghamshire Police said officers were called to Bank End Close in Mansfield alongside the fire service and Mansfield District Council just before 5pm on Thursday following concerns for the safety of people living in the houses.
Sheffield was one of the worst-hit places with a number of roads left impassable to traffic, cars stranded in floodwater and gridlock resulting on many routes.
Concerns have been raised about the levels of rivers running through the city, with the city council closing Millhouses Park, where a 14-year-old boy was swept to his death in the River Sheaf during the devastating floods in the city in 2007.
The Meadowhall Shopping Centre, which was also flooded in 2007, said its Christmas Live event, was forced to cancel its Christmas Live event which was expected to be attended by thousands of people on Thursday evening.
It said in a statement: “Due to the adverse weather and the subsequent impact on the public transport it is with regret that the Christmas Live event has been cancelled.”
Trams were also stopped short of the complex by the M1 motorway due to “heavy rain putting the Tinsley tram bridge at risk”.
The firm said that roads are also closed in the corresponding areas, meaning “customers should not attempt to travel”.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy rain until 6am on Friday for an area between Sheffield, Manchester and Bradford.
It has also issued yellow warnings for surrounding regions as it said almost 40mm of rain had fallen in the Sheffield area between midnight and noon on Thursday.
Forecaster Craig Snell said it could be that the total hits 100mm by Friday morning.
Further north, concerns were growing in the Calder valley as river levels began to rise on Thursday. Precautionary flood barriers were put in place in Mytholmroyd, which was badly hit in the 2015 Boxing Day floods.
Chris Wilding, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Heavy rain could lead to surface water and river flooding across parts of northern England today and into tomorrow, particularly in parts of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, and Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
“Persistent showers may also bring localised river and surface water flooding to parts of southern England today and tomorrow.
“Our incident rooms are open and we are working closely with local authorities and partners to reduce the risk of flooding. Our field teams are ready to deploy temporary flood barriers to help protect people and property if needed.
“We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”
— Lilian Greenwood (@LilianGreenwood) November 7, 2019
But despite the deluge of rain, General Election campaigning has continued unaffected.
Key speeches from John McDonnell and Sajid Javid took place in Liverpool and Manchester, dodging the epicentre of the relentless downpours on the other side of the Pennines.
A number of MPs took to social media to log their sodden campaigning efforts, remembering the election itself will take place in dark and wet December for the first time in almost a century.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne said on Twitter: “Why does it always rain on me? The weather is against us in Audenshaw this morning, but the response is (thankfully) not!”
Another Labour candidate, Lilian Greenwood in Nottingham South, posted a picture of an ark with the comment: “Looks like we might be needing one of these for today’s campaigning! #Rain.”