Flood defenses have been erected and gusts of over 80 mph were recorded as much of the UK prepared for Storm Bella.
There are warnings in England and Wales, including two “life threatening” flood advisories, and families have labeled their Christmas a cancellation after they were forced to evacuate due to rising water levels.
There is an amber wind advisory across the entire south coast and south Wales, with communities from Cornwall to Kent having to expect damage to buildings and the potential for debris to blow away in stormy conditions.
A gust of 83 mph was recorded in Aberdaron in North Wales on Saturday night. More yellow weather advisories for wind and rain are in effect in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and northern Scotland through Sunday, indicating 60 mph winds are likely across the country, according to the Met Office. .
As of Saturday night, there were two severe flood warnings indicating a possible threat to life at the Cogenhoe Mill caravan site near Northampton and on the River Nene near the Billing Aquadrome. Flood defenses had been installed in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, prior to the night storm.
Conditions follow several days of humid weather in parts of southern and eastern England, prompting more than 1,300 homes near Bedford to be evacuated over Christmas.
One family described eating turkey sandwiches at a hotel on December 25 after police knocked on their door and told them to leave home late on Christmas Eve.
Clare Devany, her husband, James Hodgson, and their daughters, ages four and five, spent Christmas Day moving furniture to the top floor of their Bedford home, before spending the night at a hotel in nearby Peterborough. .
“You walk and you just have to think about what to sacrifice,” Devany said. “For us, that was things like the television, because it was assembled and we didn’t have time to disassemble it, the living room cabinets.
“They are furniture, it is not the end of the world. We moved the paperwork, the photos, all the memories of the children, their toys, everything came up. The only thing we didn’t touch because we didn’t have time was the kitchen. “
She said the day was a festive “punishment.”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people to consult government advice, such as those of the Environment Agency, which has asked people to stay away from “swollen rivers and flooded lands.”
A statement on EA’s website read: “It is often deeper than it appears and only 12 inches of running water is enough to float your car.”
In addition to the stormy conditions, temperatures will remain icy in parts until next week, prompting healthcare professionals to offer advice on staying safe in colder climates.
Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, a consultant for Public Health England, said: “Heat your home to at least 18 ° C if you can, especially if you have limited mobility, are 65 or older, or have a health condition like heart disease. or pulmonary “. .
“If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat your living room during the day and your bedroom just before bed. Wearing a few layers of thin clothing is better at trapping heat than a thick layer and will help keep you warm. “
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