Storm Kathleen: rescue operations as River Arun overflows in West Sussex

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The River Arun has overflowed in West Sussex with rescue operations under way in the seaside town of Littlehampton and warnings of severe flood waters as a result of Storm Kathleen.

“Our crews are supporting rescue operations in Littlehampton near Ferry Road and Rope Walk where the River Arun has burst its banks, leading to severe flooding,” West Sussex fire and rescue service said on X.

“Residents should remain in their properties if it is safe to do so and get as high as possible within their homes.”

The emergency service said anyone requiring life-saving intervention should dial 999 to contact the fire and rescue service or the coastguard. “Please avoid the area and remain in your homes where possible to allow our crews to work safely,” it said.

It was also dealing with a “severe flooding incident” at Medmerry holiday park between Bracklesham and Selsey. It urged anyone in the vicinity of the holiday park to get to high ground if they were able to leave their homes.

Heavy rain and strong winds will continue to batter parts of southern England, western Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland over the next few days, forecasters have said.

In Hampshire, flooding is affecting the railway at Lymington Pier.

Trains may be cancelled, delayed or revised because of this problem, said South Western Railway, adding that replacement buses had been requested between Lymington Pier and Brockenhurst. The disruption is expected to last until 10am on Tuesday.

The Met Office issued six separate yellow weather warnings spanning Monday to Wednesday morning.

Winds in south-west England, including Cornwall and parts of Devon, could reach speeds of up to 60-65mph along some stretches of the coast. The forecaster warned the strong gusts, scheduled to last until 6am on Tuesday, had a “small chance” of causing power cuts and damaging buildings.

Further rainfall is forecast in western Scotland between 9am and 6pm on Wednesday and may cause flooding, with 15-25mm of rain expected in most places and 40-50mm forecast on high ground.

The weather service warned rain and wind could cause disruption to rail and road travel across the country, as driving conditions worsen because of slippery road surfaces and limited visibility.

The Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said that while these levels of rainfall would not be a “huge cause for concern” on their own, they would fall on to “already saturated ground” that increases the risk of flooding.

Met Office provisional statistics showed England had a record amount of rainfall in the 18 months to March. Partridge said the past three months in particular had made for a “very wet start to the year”.

Storm Kathleen has caused widespread travel disruption with hundreds of flood alerts issued and thousands of homes losing power. The Environment Agency had 213 flood alerts and 100 flood warnings in place in England on Monday evening.

Partridge added: “We’ll continue with very unsettled weather as we head into spring, which is usually when we start to see things settle down a little bit more.

“We’re continuing with one area of low pressure after another, which is mainly down to the fact that the jet stream is a bit further south than it would normally be at this time of year.”


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