Hundreds of homes were evacuated overnight as Storm Christoph caused extensive flooding in parts of Manchester and Merseyside in England’s North West, and areas of North Wales.
He also said that thousands of Manchester homes had been protected by Environment Agency measures overnight but warned of “more to come” with further rain expected next week.
Its Flood Duty Manager, Craig Woolhouse, added that the rise in levels brought on by overnight rainfall “may also bring flooding to parts of Yorkshire today and Friday, with a risk of damage to buildings in some communities.”
The Agency said it is “working round the clock” to help bring down the flood risk, with “over 9000 properties in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire already protected from flooding.”
Remedial measures included “operating flood defenses, flood storage reservoirs, and putting up temporary barriers where needed to help protect communities,” it said.
Environment teams are also “out on the ground clearing grilles, screens, and closing flood barriers,” Woolhouse added.
“We need a proactive rather than reactive approach to this crisis,” she said.
“So will the Minister today commit to holding an emergency flood summit that brings together agencies and regional leaders to make sure we have a coordinated response to support local communities?” she asked.
“So, we are trying to hold on as long as we can, and hopefully it will pass,” he said.
But the Environment Agency said people should quit their homes if advised to.
“Preparations for evacuations and to create COVID-secure rest centers will have been made by the relevant agencies as a precautionary measure,” it said.
“We would urge anyone advised to evacuate to follow the advice of the emergency services at the time,” it added.
“Colder air is now established across the UK as Storm Christoph moves away into the North Sea, and gale-force winds will impact the northeast of the country,” he said.
He also pointed to the National Severe weather warnings that are in place in the country:
“There are three National Severe weather warnings in place, two in north and east Scotland, one for rain and one for snow valid until noon on Friday, and an ice warning cover western Scotland, northwest England, Northern Ireland, and much of Wales, valid until 10 am Friday.”
Woolhouse meanwhile urged people to sign up to receive free flood warnings and to “keep away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water.”
“It is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car,” he warned.