Areas already hit by severe flooding are set to be assaulted by a fresh wave of misery as Storm Frank sweeps across the north this evening.
The Met Office has issued amber “be prepared” warnings for rain in the North West of England with Cumbria and south and central Scotland being most risk, with a total of nine “danger to life” flood warnings. These mostly focus on the area around York, already badly damaged by a weekend of severe flooding.
Sweeping in from the West, Storm Frank will bring more rain to already saturated areas with a greater risk of more flooding with 4.7in (120 mm) of precipitation expected.
The monthly average for western England in December is between 11.8 and 13.8in (300 to 350mm)
Shap in Cumbria has so far seen the most rain enduring a record of three and a half times its average rainfall of a staggering 28.6 in (728mm) from December 1 to Boxing Day.
By comparison, Monday and Tuesday were forecasted to be fairly uneventful, with temperatures remaining fairly mild for this time of year, in the low teens.
The balmy weather is down to a jet stream allowing warm air to come up from the south.
But it’s Wednesday that everything changes with a cold front expected to hit Cumbria during Tuesday night bringing with it 1.5in (40mm) with higher ground seeing between 3.1in (80mm) and 4.7in (120mm).
The mid belt of Scotland from Glasgow and Edinburgh could even see up to six inches (150mm).
Forecasters said the weather was down to bad luck, as a system we would normally avoid in other years hits.
However, Thursday should bring clearer spells and only light rain for affected areas.
Sophie Yeomans said: “We do have a yellow weather warning for parts of Wales, Northern Ireland and Western England on Wednesday.
“Widely there will be 20 to 40mm of rain but this could be between 60 and 80mm in higher grounds. Gale speeds could reach up to 70 mph.
“There will be a risk of flooding in Cumbria because the ground is already saturated. It does depend on how each river responds though.
“Lancashire will face some localised flooding, but York looks like it is just outside that yellow weather warning.
“We have an amber warning in some parts of Scotland including Glasgow and Edinburgh for heavy rain and wind.
“Some exposed parts of Southwest Scotland could receive between 100mm and 150mm of rain. Widely it will be between 20mm and 40mm.
“It’s just a case that a weather system that would normally pass to the North or maybe South of us in other years, has affected us this year. We’ve not made any scientific assumptions on climate change. It’s mostly western areas as the rain will break up and become less heavy as it moves east.
“Once the front has pushed through and reached Eastern areas there will be quite a few clear spells around. There is a small band of light showers that will mainly affect Western areas, parts of Wales and Western England. “