Huge flooding leaves hundreds of people stranded in shopping centre

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Huge flooding leaves hundreds of people stranded in shopping centre

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Hundreds of people in Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre were left stranded this evening due to flooding

Shoppers were ordered by police to stay put amid severe flooding which left the surrounding area gridlocked.

The south Yorkshire city was one of the worst-hit places in the UK as the nation was lashed by heavy downpours on Thursday.

Thousands had headed to Meadowhall for its annual Christmas Live event, which was duly cancelled as torrential rain saw the nearby River Don rise dramatically.

As people tried to leave the centre in their cars, they were turned back to its car parks by police.

And South Yorkshire Police's operational support unit said on Twitter: “All roads around Meadowhall are currently gridlocked.

“There is heavy flooding due to adverse weather conditions and closures are in place. Please avoid the area. Events at Meadowhall are CANCELLED. We advise only essential travel.”

The unit then added: “If you are in #Meadowhall, do not leave the shopping centre - await further updates.

A file image of Meadowhall (PA)

“If you are travelling to collect people, do not attempt your journey. Await updates as we work to ensure safety of people in the immediate vicinity.”

Meadowhall, which was flooded in 2007, said in a statement: "Due to the adverse weather and the subsequent impact on the public transport it is with regret that the Christmas Live event has been cancelled."

The force said it had also closed the nearby junction 34 of the M1 in both directions to “alleviate pressure”.

A man cycles through a flooded street Sheffield, after torrential rain in the area (PA)

Trams were also stopped short of the shopping complex due to "heavy rain putting the Tinsley tram bridge at risk".

Concerns have been raised about the levels of rivers running through the city, with the city council closing Millhouses Park, where a 14-year-old boy was swept to his death in the River Sheaf during devastating floods in the city in 2007.

Rail firm Northern issued "do not travel" advice for passengers using three routes, saying flooding had closed the lines between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln and Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria.

A person wades through a flooded street Sheffield (PA)

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy rain until 6am on Friday for an area between Sheffield, Manchester and Bradford.

It has also issued yellow warnings for surrounding regions as it said almost 40mm of rain had fallen in the Sheffield area between midnight and noon on Thursday.

Forecaster Craig Snell said the total could hit 100mm by Friday morning.
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By teatime on Thursday, the Environment Agency had issued 61 flood warnings, mainly in the Yorkshire region, and 103 flood alerts.

Further north, concerns were growing in the Calder valley as river levels began to rise on Thursday. Precautionary flood barriers were put in place in Mytholmroyd, which was badly hit in the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

Chris Wilding, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Heavy rain could lead to surface water and river flooding across parts of northern England today and into tomorrow, particularly in parts of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, and Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

Hours of torrential rain in Sheffield and northern England leaves roads completely flooded

"Persistent showers may also bring localised river and surface water flooding to parts of southern England today and tomorrow.

"Our incident rooms are open and we are working closely with local authorities and partners to reduce the risk of flooding. Our field teams are ready to deploy temporary flood barriers to help protect people and property if needed.

"We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car."

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