Mix of snow and sleet yellow weather warnings with temperatures near zero in London as regions tackle flooding after Storm Henk

Monday 8 January 2024

Sleet and snow showers have been forecast for parts of the country on Monday as some regions are still trying to grapple with flooding following intense rainfall.

The Met Office’s yellow weather warning for ice was issued on Sunday as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited flood-hit residents in Oxford and Environment Agency (EA) workers who are still trying to mop up from the heavy rainfall and high winds during Storm Henk last week.

London and the South East, which is covered by the warning that runs from 4am to 10am, is set for “a mix of sleet and snow showers” that will move in from the east and “temperatures near zero”, according to the Met Office.

The forecaster added: “Given these wintry showers, and also wet surfaces after recent wet weather, some icy patches are likely on untreated surfaces.

“Additionally a few of the snow showers could turn quite heavy; these probably only affecting a narrow zone but a few places could see 1-3cm, mainly over the north Downs and on grassy surfaces.”

The EA has warned that more than 1,800 properties have already flooded, and more could be affected over the next week as river levels rise.

There were 169 flood warnings in place where flooding is expected and 159 flood alerts on Monday morning in the southern parts of England, up through the Midlands and into Yorkshire.

A resident using a paddel board in their flooded garden in North Town, Maidenhead

The resident's view of his flooded garden in North Town, Maidenhead

The entrance to a football ground flooded in Maidenhead

Mr Sunak had sought to defend the Government’s record on flood protection as he spoke to the media in front of the fast-moving River Thames.

He said: “We have over 1,000 Environment Agency personnel on the ground in local communities helping, over 200 pumps have been deployed.

“We’ve invested £5.2 billion in flood defences over the period in question, that’s a record sum, far more than we’ve done (previously), in the future that’s contributed to protecting over 300,000 homes.

“And, of course, there have been many people affected by what’s happened over the past week, but also over 49,000 have been protected from flooding.”

Labour had accused the Government of being “asleep at the wheel” over flood warnings, with leader Sir Keir Starmer vowing to make flood defences “fit for purpose”, writing on social media that “people’s lives shouldn’t be upended by extreme rain”.

An amber cold health alert (CHA) for the north west of England, West Midlands, East Midlands and south west of England is also in place through to noon on Friday.

The amber alert, issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office, means “cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time”.

There is also a yellow cold health alert in place for the north east of England, Yorkshire and The Humber, east of England, south east of England and London.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UKHSA, said: “With the Met Office forecasting drops in temperature across the United Kingdom into next week, it is important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.”

The cold weather can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections and can have a serious health impact for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.

More than 1,800 properties have already flooded after prolonged wet weather and intense rainfall, the EA said, with the impact of high water levels likely to continue, particularly around the rivers Trent, Severn and Thames.

The agency said buildings “will flood and there will be travel disruption” during that time period, and local groundwater flooding is also possible in the South of England, Yorkshire and the Humber.

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