Britain battered as 'weather bomb' brings landslides and travel chaos

Water buildup in Tenbury Wells after Storm Dennis caused flooding across large swathes of Britain, on Feb 17, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (NYTIMES) - Britain has been battered by severe weather for the second consecutive weekend, prompting an official warning on Sunday (Feb 16) that lives were at risk as streets became flooded, mud flowed, rail tracks were submerged and dozens of flights were cancelled.

The storm, named Dennis and classified as a "weather bomb" by the national weather service, the Meteorological Office, unleashed wind gusts of 146kmh, becoming one of the most intense winter storms to grip the North Atlantic.

The term weather bomb is applied when the air pressure of a storm drops by a certain measure in 24 hours, causing huge turbulence and high wind speeds.

The impact on the ground brought chaos to parts of England, Wales and Scotland, with more than half a month's worth of rain falling in one day. In addition, the body of a teenager was pulled from the sea during the storm, and a man died after he apparently fell overboard from a ship moored off the coast. On Sunday, police in Wales said another man had lost his life after falling into a river.

At least 170 flights were cancelled on Sunday, a weekend that is especially busy in Britain because of a week-long school holiday. A red warning for parts of Wales early on Sunday expired at around 11 am, but most of Britain remained under an amber alert, the second-highest warning after red.

Also Sunday, about 320 flood warnings were issued across the country, including in South Wales, where fast-flowing or deep floodwater caused by the storm posed a risk to life, the Met Office said. It added that 109.4mm of rain had already fallen in Tredegar, a town in south-east Wales, since 4am last Friday.

"We are urging people to follow the safety advice from officials and to keep a close eye on the latest Met Office weather warnings," said Mr Andy Page, the chief meteorologist at the Met Office.

At Nantgarw, a village in south Wales, vehicles were left submerged and families had to be rescued by emergency workers.

In south Wales, footage online showed a landslide on a mountain in Tylorstown after heavy rain.

In western Scotland, people were advised not to travel, and the severe weather forced ferry services to be cancelled.

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