Accessibility links

Breaking News

Deaths, Damage As Storm Hits Great Britain

Rescue workers remove local residents by boat from a flooded residential street in Carlisle, Britain December 6, 2015.
Rescue workers remove local residents by boat from a flooded residential street in Carlisle, Britain December 6, 2015.
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:29 0:00

Two people died. Roads and highways are closed. Homes are without power. And travelers are stranded in Great Britain because of record rainfall.

The rain set records and affected the northern part of England and Scotland. The national weather service issued a “red” alert for rain in the area. Red is the highest alert.

In some areas, water reached above the doors of parked cars.

The Reuters news agency says two people died because of the flooding.

The head of Britain’s Environment Agency called the weather “unprecedented.”

Most of the region received between 200 to 300 millimeters of rain over the weekend, according to the U.K.’s National Weather Service.

Honister Pass, an area north of Manchester in the Lake District, received 341 millimeters of rain on December 5. That set a record for 24 hours.

The weather office says severe weather may continue into the week.

The head of the Environment Agency told BBC Radio "from time to time nature will throw things at us which will overwhelm the system, and I think that is what happened here."

Extreme rainy weather is not only affecting the northern hemisphere. The city of Chennai in southern India also received over 300 millimeters of rain in 24 hours last week.

The rain emergencies came at the same time world leaders are meeting in France to discuss climate change at the COP21 convention.

One climate change expert from the United Kingdom’s office of the World Wildlife Fund told the BBC “storm Desmond is the sort of storm that we will see more of over the coming decades if we fail to tackle climate change.”

In Malham, water flowed over the cliffs for the first time in memory for many residents. It is the country’s tallest active waterfall – at just over 70 meters.

I’m ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English based on reporting from the Associated Press, BBC, Reuters and The Telegraph. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

What’s the most rain you’ve seen in a 24-hour period? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

alert – n. the state of being ready for something you have been warned about (such as an attack)

overwhelm – v. to affect (someone) very strongly

strand – v. to leave (a person or animal) in a place without a way of leaving it — usually used as (be) stranded

tackle – v. to deal with something difficult

unprecedented – adj. not done or experienced before