Feb. 17 (UPI) — Storm Dennis was responsible for at least three deaths and has forced thousands to evacuate in Britain, authorities said Monday.
Some parts of Britain recorded wind speeds of 90 mph and others received 12 months of average rainfall in just two days from the storm, presenting a risk of severe flooding.
“The River Ouse in York will reach [189 inches] on the morning of Tuesday Feb. 18 and is likely to remain at or around this level for a couple of days afterward,” an Environment Agency spokesman said. “At this level, we expect there may be further properties flooded.”
Floodwaters swept away a woman on Sunday night, officials said.
“Last night for safety reasons and with a heavy heart, the rescue operation was called off,” West Mercia Police Superintendent Tom Harding said. “It was not a decision that any of the emergency services took lightly, but … colleagues who were coordinating the operation took the decision as conditions became extremely challenging.”
Meteorologists say Storm Dennis is one of the strongest in modern European history, and has spanned some 3,000 miles from eastern Canada to Scandinavia. Atmospheric pressure near Iceland dropped to 920 during the storm, putting that measurement on par with Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
While the storm had weakened considerably by Monday, it hit Ireland and Scotland with 75 mph gusts, heavy rains and major flooding. Flights and passenger trains were canceled across Britain due to the weather.
More strong winds and rains were in the forecast for Britain Monday as Dennis moved to the northeast. Many rivers affected by the storm were not expected to crest until late Monday and early Tuesday, which could worsen the flooding situation.