Hundreds of people are being evacuated from their homes overnight amid widespread flooding across England and Wales caused by Storm Christoph.
About 2,000 homes in the Didsbury and Northenden areas of Manchester, and in Ruthin and Bangor-on-Dee, North Wales, and Maghull, Merseyside, are affected.
There are more than 200 flood warnings in place – five of them severe – and weather alerts for rain and snow.
People have been told Covid rules allow them leave their homes in an emergency.
Trains are also cancelled across the North West and people are being urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary, tweeted Manchester Piccadilly station.
The manufacture of AstraZeneca and Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine has not been disrupted by flooding near a Welsh factory involved in the supply chain, manufacturing partner Wockhardt said on Thursday, adding the site was operating as normal.
“Last night at approximately 1600 (GMT) hours, Wockhardt UK experienced mild flooding, resulting in excess water surrounding part of the buildings across site,” the company said in a statement.
“All necessary precautions were taken meaning no disruption to manufacturing or inlet of water into buildings. The site is now secure and free from any further flood damage and operating as normal.”
Wockhardt UK provides fill-and-finish capacity for AstraZeneca’s UK supply chain, which is the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them.
AstraZeneca has agreed to supply Britain with 100 million doses of the vaccine, developed by Oxford University.
Storm Christoph has caused widespread flooding in England and Wales. Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard said that local authorities had deployed gullies and pumps to divert water away from the facilities.
“They were under pressure. They had serious concerns that their warehouse, logistically, could be flooded,” he told Sky News. “We worked through the night with them… and we’ve been successful. But it has been difficult.”
Main Photo: A vehicle drives through a flood on the B6101 in Lower Hague, Derbyshire, as storm Christoph brings heavy rains across Britain. EPA-EFE/PETER POWELL