by Richard Davies, floodlist
Storm Babet triggered major flooding in parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom in October 2023. The UK’s Met Office said some locations of the UK recorded well over their average October rainfall in just a few days.
In Ireland, flood barriers were erected across Cork, Kerry and Waterford as Storm Babet moved across the country on 18 October 2023.
Severe flooding affected areas of Midleton in County Cork, where local authorities reported as many as 100 properties were flooded. Defence Force teams were deployed to assist flood victims.
According to figures from the Weather Observations Website from Met Éireann, the weather station at Rostellan, Midleton, recorded 62.7 mm of rain on 18 October 2023.
In 19 October, heavy rain from Storm Babet, falling on previously saturated ground, caused flooding in parts of Scotland, UK. Parts of Scotland had already seen severe flooding and landslides earlier in the month after heavy rain on 07 October 2023. Copernicus EMS produced several maps of this event here: https://rapidmapping.emergency.copernicus.eu/EMSR698/download
During Storm Babet, residents of hundreds of homes were told to evacuate in Brechin, Tannadice and Finavon in western Scotland, UK, following warnings for flooding along the South Esk and North Esk Rivers, which reached record levels. Homes were also evacuated in Peterculter, Aberdeen.
Police later confirmed at least 3 storm-related fatalities in Scotland, including one in the flooding Water of Lee in Glen Esk and another in flood water near Marykirk in Aberdeenshire.
The South Esk River at Tannadice, Forfar, reached a record 4.32 metres on 20 October, exceeding the previous record high of 3.733 m set in December 2015, according to figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
The North Esk (Tayside) River also reached a record high at Logie Mill, near Craigo, recording 5.074 metres on 20 October, where the previous record high was 4.971 m set in November 2022.
Heavy rain from Storm Babet caused flooding in various parts of England from 20 October 2023. Areas of Suffolk, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire were particularly badly affected.
The Environment Agency (EA) reported a total of 2,146 homes were damaged in England. An estimated 96,000 properties were protected as part of the EA’s response which included the deployment of twenty high-volume pumps across several sites. The EA’s flood warning service sent out over 300,000 messages by email, telephone and text during Storm Babet.
The Fire and Rescue Service rescued or evacuated people from homes in Sandiacre, Long Eaton and Stapleford near Nottingham and in areas of Chesterfield where an elderly person tragically died trapped in a flooded house. The local Member of Parliament, Toby Perkins, said 400 homes in his Chesterfield constituency were flooded.
Authorities urged residents of around 500 homes to evacuate after rising levels of the River Idle in Nottinghamshire threatened to flood areas of Retford, Ordsal, Retford, Eaton and Gamston. The River Idle reached record levels of 1.79 metres in Ordsal on 22 October. The previous record high was 1.65 metres set in June 2007.
In the county of Lincolnshire, Fire and Rescue Service said dozens of homes and businesses were flooded in areas of Lincoln, Horncastle, Tattershall, Woodhall Spa, Wainfleet and Kirkby on Bain. Around 40 people evacuated their homes in Wainfleet. The River Steeping reached a record high of 2.22 metres on 21 October. The previous high was 2.12 metres set in June 2007.
Lincolnshire County Council later confirmed 583 properties including four schools, suffered internal flooding as a result of the storm.
Towns and villages in Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts in Suffolk were also badly affected. Suffolk County Council declared a major incident due to flooding, and asked people not to travel unless essential.
In South Yorkshire, around 250 homes were evacuated in Catcliffe near Rotherham where the River Rother reached record levels of 30.52 metres on 21 October. The previous high was 30.37 metres set in June 2007.
“Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences are with those who have lost loved ones in Storm Babet as well as those who are experiencing the devastating impact of having their homes and businesses flooded,” Sarah Cook, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said.