Storm Dennis: Body recovered off UK coast as 'bomb cyclone' smashes into UK... and flights are cancelled and army called in
Feb. 15, 2020
A body has been recovered following the search off the coast of Kent as Storm Dennis smashes into the UK bringing strong winds and heavy rain.
It follows after an extensive search operation, with lifeboats and the coastguard helicopter scouring the sea near Margate Harbour after reports of a man overboard.
HMS Westminster was also believed to been part of the search after a distress was received by the coastguard at 5.41am.
A coastguard spokesman said: “At around 1pm, after many hours of searching, a body was sadly found in the water by the RNLI Margate lifeboat and has been brought to shore.”
It comes as hundreds of flights have been cancelled and the army called in with Brits braced for worsening conditions.
Heavy rain and strong winds have struck the country, with the Ministry of Defence deploying British Army personnel to help people in West Yorkshire, which was badly hit by flooding during last weekend's Storm Ciara.
Flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and easyJet confirming cancellations.
More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday have been cancelled, while several sporting fixtures have also been called off due to the weather.
The storm has been labelled a bomb cyclone because the central pressure of the weather system has rapidly decreased by more than 24 mbar in the last 24 hours, resulting in more extreme weather. In the case of Dennis, the decrease was 50 mbar.
The US National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Centre reported winds up to 92mph and waves that could reach more than 100ft (30m) high across the North Atlantic early on Saturday.
Forecasters were expecting winds to reach 70mph along coastlines, while some parts of the country could witness up to 4.7in (120mm) of rain.
Experts have warned that conditions amount to a "perfect storm", with hundreds of homes at risk of flooding.
The Met Office has issued eight weather warnings covering most of the UK this weekend.
This includes amber warnings from midday on Saturday over southern Scotland, northern England, Wales and part of the South West saying that flooding could cause a danger to life.
As of 2.30pm on Saturday, there were 18 flood warnings, which mean flooding is "expected", and more than 198 flood alerts, which mean flooding is possible, in places across the country.
A spokesman for British Airways said they are "merging a small number of Heathrow short-haul flights to the same destination and using larger aircraft where possible to minimise disruption", while a spokeswoman for easyJet confirmed 234 cancellations.
Ryanair said all its flights are operating as normal.
A spokesman for Luton Airport said the airport is "fully operational", but added that "a number of cancellations" are expected later on Saturday.
The MoD said 75 personnel from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, will be aiding the Environment Agency (EA) in constructing barriers and repairing flood defences in Ilkley and Calderdale, while 70 Reservists from 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, have also been tasked with providing support where required.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Our armed forces are always ready to support local authorities and communities whenever they need it. The rapid response of the Army today will help with provision of flood relief to local communities in West Yorkshire."
The EA said flooding is likely to be worse than under last weekend's Storm Ciara due to rain falling on already saturated ground.
In England alone, 800 properties were left flooded when Storm Ciara struck, the EA said.
North Wales Police said very high winds had led to debris and branches falling off trees and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued a motorist from a car stuck in flood water in the Liskeard area.
Elsewhere, a Royal Navy warship has been dispatched to help in an urgent search for a man in the sea off the Kent coast.
Lifeboats and the Coastguard helicopter are scouring the sea near Margate Harbour after reports of a man overboard, HM Coastguard said.
Power cuts are also expected and there is a good chance that train and buses will see cancellations or delays and roads closed.
The Met Office said the "main areas of concern" on Saturday are north and south-west England and Wales, with the South East bearing the brunt more on Sunday.
Network Rail has advised passengers to expect disruption on many routes due to flooding and to allow more time for their journeys.
Meanwhile, people living near the railway are being urged to secure any loose items in their gardens, after several trampolines were blown on to tracks and overhead electric wires last weekend, blocking lines.