Parts of Haworth, West Yorkshire, were flooded

Parts of Haworth, West Yorkshire, were flooded

Volunteers from mountain rescue and search teams from across the country have been taking a crucial role during some of the worst floods in living memory in northern England.

Swathes of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester have been hit by major inundations as rivers reached record levels following heavy rain on Boxing Day.

Parts of Salford, Leeds and York are under several feet of water and 24 severe flood warnings, meaning life in in danger, are currently in force in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, Leeds and York, with a further 113 flood warnings and 98 flood alerts having been issued by the Environment Agency.

One of the worst affected towns on Boxing Day was Mytholmroyd, home to Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, whose swiftwater technicians have been active for more than 24 hours in West Yorkshire.

A team spokesperson said: “We have been inundated with messages of help and support which is truly appreciated. Please be vigilant, stay safe at this devastating time.”

Although heavy rain did fall in Cumbria, which suffered in the recent Storm Desmond floods, areas further south bore the brunt of the exceptional rain, with Ribchester and Whalley in Lancashire, Salford in Greater Manchester, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire inundated early on Boxing Day.

As river levels continued to rise downstream, West Yorkshire’s largest city Leeds suffered serious flooding and York, to the East, is badly flooded.

Mountain rescue teams in action in Lancashire. Photo: Edale MRT

Mountain rescue teams in action in Lancashire. Photo: Edale MRT

Edale, Derby, Glossop, Bolton, Bowland Pennine and Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Teams all took part in the evacuation of residents in Salford.

A Bowland Pennine MRT spokesperson said: “Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team deployed team members and equipment to assist in the civil aid effort of the floods within Lancashire over the past 48 hours.

“Team members assisted in evacuation and recovery at Ribchester and Croston, where flood water levels were described as extreme. In Croston where failing power was encountered during the night, the team assisted both the North West Ambulance Service and Lancashire Fire and Rescue teams in evacuating patients to the local rest centres.

“The rescue team were also on standby for St Michael’s, Whalley and other areas of concern.

“The rescue team utilised its 4×4 off-road vehicles and boat in the operations. Over 30 team members of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, all of whom are volunteers, deployed during the operations. The rescue team is now on standby to assist in the floods at York, where mountain rescue teams from across the country are now endeavouring to tackle the day to day flood issues in that area.”

Teams from the Lake District, including Wasdale, Duddon and Furness, Keswick, Langdale Ambleside, Cockermouth and Penrith Mountain Rescue Teams joined Scarborough and Ryedale MRT and the Cleveland team in the operation at York. Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation and Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association have also taken part in the York rescues. UWFRA also helped the district nurse team in Skipton, North Yorkshire, by taking one of its staff on rounds to patients in the flooded town. Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, and Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team also helped evacuate York residents.

Mountain rescue swiftwater technicians take part in the York evacuations. Photo: Kewswick MRT

Mountain rescue swiftwater technicians take part in the York evacuations. Photo: Kewswick MRT

A Keswick MRT spokesperson said: “With chest deep, very dirty water we saw wonderful camaraderie and support from all those involved.”

A spokesperson for the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, the umbrella organisation for the Cumbrian teams, said 14 swiftwater technicians from its teams took part in rescues in Lancashire on Boxing Day. The spokesperson added: “Following a request for further mountain rescue resources from the national coordination centre late last night, LDSAMRA gathered a further 26 volunteer specialist team members with 4×4 support vehicles to help in the rescue and evacuation operations currently taking place in York that is been severely hit by the floods.

“This follows the flooding in north Wales and the North-West of England where LDSAMRA teams were also deployed yesterday afternoon. These earlier teams were redeployed to York making a total Lakes commitment of 40 volunteers to work alongside mountain rescue colleagues from both north Wales and the North of England.

“Support from our region is expected to continue well into Sunday. The support involved eight of the 12 Lake District teams.”

Edale MRT members prepare to join the flood rescue. Photo: Edale MRT

Edale MRT members prepare to join the flood rescue. Photo: Edale MRT

Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team was called out on Saturday to deal with floods in Beaumaris.

A yellow weather warning for high winds has been issued by the Met Office for parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland on Tuesday, and amber and yellow warnings for rain are in force for Wednesday, with the highest rainfall expected in the Scottish Borders, Central Belt and southern Highlands. However, areas hit by the recent floods, including Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and north Wales, will see heavy rain with the potential for further flooding.

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