Great Britain

Dramatic moment two homes COLLAPSE in Storm Christoph sinkhole

THIS is the dramatic moment two homes collapsed in a Storm Christoph sinkhole today.

Two homes were destroyed as the storm wreaked havoc across the UK, with large swathes of the country hit by severe flooding.

A massive hole suddenly appeared in the road Gorton, Manchester this afternoon.

Shocking footage shows the front of terraced houses collapsing as a man's voice can be heard shouting "get back!".

The properties sank into the ground, sending debris flying into neighbours down the street.

Louise Kennedy's elderly mum was at home on the street when the hole opened up.

"She just heard this loud bang. They came out and the houses just collapsed," she told the Manchester Evening News.

"My mum's owned that house for 40 years and we're stood here waiting to see if hers will collapse as well."

It comes as Storm Christoph caused havoc for Brits across the country.

A man's body was pulled from the River Taff in Wales, while some 2,000 homes and businesses in Didsbury, Greater Manchester were evacuated from their homes last night amid heavy flooding.

Families in Maghull in Merseyside and Ruthin, North Wales, were also forced out of their homes due to rising floodwaters.

Aberllefenni, in Wales, has seen the UK's highest amount of rainfall so far during Storm Christoph, with 187.8mm dumped over the last 56 hours, according to the Met Office.

Meanwhile, RNLI lifeboat volunteers were forced to rescue a dad and two young children from the sea off Llanddwyn Beach in Anglesey, North Wales after the family became trapped by rising waters.

As of 4pm today, the Environment Agency had issued a further 175 flood warnings across England, with 194 less severe flood alerts, mainly across the Midlands and north of the country.

Lee Rawlinson, of the Environment Agency, said that flood basins put in place on the River Mersey in Didsbury had kept properties in the area dry overnight.

He told the BBC: "The top of the river came within centimetres of the top of the river bank but our defences there have served their purpose and kept those properties dry

"But it was very close."

A total of 176 flood warnings are in place across England as of this afternoon, with three "severe" warnings - meaning danger to life - issued for the North West.

But Manchester City Council this afternoon confirmed the Didsbury area had "avoided the worst-case scenario".

In a statement, the authority said: "Water levels had continued to rise overnight as expected, but the Didsbury Basin did not significantly overflow and the worst-case scenario was avoided.

"However, high water levels have flooded some gardens and some roads remain closed."

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, Chair of the GM Strategic Coordination Group for Storm Christoph, said Greater Manchester Police had decided to "step down" the major incident declared in Didsbury on Tuesday morning.

But he stressed it "does not mean that we are withdrawing resources from the areas affected and others identified as potentially vulnerable".

'NEVER SEEN IT THIS BAD'

Locals in Didsbury today told of their shock as thousands were evacuated from homes.

Trish Loder said she and her husband had gone to their daughter's house nearby at about 10pm after being warned there was a risk of flooding.

The 68-year-old said: "It was very dramatic. We've lived here for 40 years and I've never seen it this bad."

Gabrielle Burns-Smith, 44, said her home in Lymm, Cheshire, had flooded yesterday afternoon.

She said: "We're still in the house, we can't go anywhere because we can't get the car out, the water is just too deep. Both our living rooms are flooded.

"We managed to get a couple of hours sleep but you almost don't want to go to sleep because you don't know what you'll wake up to."

Flooding also forced the evacuation of some 40 residents from Weaver Court care home in Northwich, Cheshire.

Dramatic photos show the OAPs being rescued by fire crews with dinghies earlier this afternoon.

Emergency services also battled overnight to save a factory producing the Oxford Covid vaccine in North Wales from flooding caused by Storm Christoph.

Firefighters raced to Wrexham Industrial Estate last night to protect the jab.

The plant has been tasked with making 300 million doses of the vaccine per year but it lies close to the River Dee, which was last night at its highest level ever recorded.

Pharmaceutical firm Wockhardt UK, which runs laboratories and factories on the estate, said it had experienced "mild flooding, resulting in excess water surrounding part of the buildings across site".

A spokeswoman added: "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."

Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard told BBC Radio Wales: "We had an incident at Wrexham Industrial Estate, the Oxford vaccination is produced there and the warehouse where it is stored.

"Obviously I can't tell you where it is, but we had to work in partnership to make sure we didn't lose the vaccinations in the floods.

"I've been up all night... it's a very difficult time for us."

UK weather forecast for Thursday 21 January - Storm Christoph continues to hit with snow, ice and strong winds

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