Police prepare for 'major incident response' as Storm Christoph approaches

People are being urged to avoid travel unless "absolutely necessary" as Storm Christoph approaches the region.
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The Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy rain and flooding which covers most of Greater Manchester including Wigan.

It also covers other parts of the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and the east of England.

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Now Greater Manchester Police have issued advice to residents in response to the warnings.

Flood alert issued for the Upper River DouglasFlood alert issued for the Upper River Douglas
Flood alert issued for the Upper River Douglas

Should it be necessary, the force said it is ready to "stand up" a major incident response.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, chairman of the GM Strategic Coordination Group for Storm Christoph, said: "We are aware that Storm Christoph is due to reach the North West tomorrow and I want to reassure the public that we're working alongside other agencies across the region - including local authorities and emergency services - to ensure that Greater Manchester is as prepared as possible.

"An amber weather warning remains in place for most of Greater Manchester and you should contact your local authority if you are concerned about flooding in your area, but always call 999 in an emergency.

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"Heavy rainfall is expected across large parts of the North West over the next 48 hours and we'd advise people to only travel if absolutely necessary and to take great care when using the roads.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to stand up a major incident response should it be required. It is likely that flood alerts will be issued this evening to ensure that everyone has as much time as possible to prepare for possible flooding. We will continue to provide updates as often as we can."

Forecasters said that, "heavy rainfall combined with some snowmelt across the hills is likely to lead to flooding."

People can expect the following:

- Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, causing damage to some buildings

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- Fast flowing or deep floodwater is likely, causing danger to life

- Delays and some cancellations to train and bus services are likely

- Spray and flooding probably leading to difficult driving conditions and some road closures

- A good chance some communities cut off by flooded roads

- Power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses likely

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The warning started from 6am today (January 19) and is in place until 12pm on Thursday (January 21)

As much as 70mm of rain is forecast to fall within 48 hours in the worst-hit areas.

The Environment Agency has issued 10 flood warnings and 114 flood alerts including at the Upper and Lower River Douglas.

Engineers from Electricity North West (ENW) are also ramping up preparations ahead of the storm.

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The power network operator are putting plans in place to monitor the network and ensure supplies and teams are available to respond if any electricity substations are affected by flooding.

Sam Loukes, ENW incident manager, said: “We’re going to be as prepared as ever for Storm Christoph.

“We always have engineers on standby but when bad weather is forecast, we can ramp this up where possible.

“We’re well practiced given Storm Bella hit the region just several weeks back over the festive period. Throughout the region, we’ll have local teams available to respond quickly on the ground and our customer team will also be available, and we’ll be sending out regular updates via our social media channels.

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“We invest money throughout the year to ensure our network is as resilient as possible but when the weather hits, we make sure we’re ready to respond too.

“If anybody does see any damage to electricity equipment over the next few days then I urge them to stay away and report it to us immediately by calling 105.”

ENW keeps supplies including extra sandbags, pumps and other equipment in ever-ready ‘flood cubes’ – containers that can be moved around the region to battle potential floods. These flood cubes are on standby to be moved to wherever they are needed on the network over the next few days.