Pictures: The river in York on Sunday, as waters rise and the city faces another anxious wait

Looking and wondering… People in York on Sunday look out to the River Ouse. Photographs: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
23 Feb 2020 @ 4.42 pm
| News

A third successive weekend of tempestuous weather will see river levels hit a new 2020 peak.

The River Ouse was today expected to exceed the 4.4m peak hit last Monday (17 February).

And it is going to get higher still – but it is not expected to reach levels that threaten York’s flood defences.


City of York Council said this afternoon:

  • City flood defences will remain in place into next week as river levels are expected to rise slightly above those seen last week after Storm Dennis, peaking tomorrow evening (Monday 24 Feb) between 4.5-4.6 metres.

    The latest advice from the Environment Agency is that the River Ouse will peak this evening (23 Feb) at around 4.56 metres.

    River levels are then expected to fall slowly and then peak again tomorrow evening (24 Feb) at around 4.5-4.6 metres.

    These are slightly above that seen earlier in the week however, this remains within the levels the sand bag defences can withstand (up to 4.8m).

New rain warning

It’s still good weather for canoeists
The Met Office has issued another yellow warning for rain and snow covering York, covering midnight-noon tomorrow (Monday 24 February).

In York mostly rain is expected with some sleet mixed in.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Further rain is expected over the weekend and during Monday, this heavy and persistent across parts of the north of England.

“This could lead to further flooding, particularly for rivers draining the Pennines, and for parts of the Midlands and the City of York where this rain will fall on saturated catchments where river levels are already high.”

Traders hit hard

Water is pumped from The Lowther
The continuing bad weather, flooding and negative headlines have taken their toll on local businesses.

We’ve been reporting on our live flooding blog how riverside traders are coping with the challenging circumstances.

“You need to be open because there have been visitors to York. But it’s very hard to keep positive when this keeps happening,” Becky Wensley of Tower Vue Café on Tower Street told Minster FM’s David Dunning.

She estimates the café has lost between £1,000 and £1,500 as what is normally a busy half term hit the buffers.

Getting out and about near the river

And Plonkers owner Leann Williams told The Observer:

  • I’ve had this business for 30 years, and I have flooded nearly every year.

    I get really emotional about it because it’s 30 years and I’m at the point now where I’ve had enough, I want out.

    For 30 years I’ve provided jobs in this city. I’m done, I don’t want to do it any more. It’s heartbreaking.

A familiar site this month – the half-submerged Kings Arms

As river levels rise the council will staff defences 24/7 with reinforcements including 11 pumps and extra sandbags available at Peckitt Street, Tower Gardens, Clementhorpe and the A19 at Germany Beck.

Council leader Keith Aspden said:

  • Our flood defences remain in place, protecting the city. We are as confident as we can be that the levels expected by the Environment Agency across today and tomorrow, though slightly higher than last week, are within the levels we can defend.

    We are continuing to closely monitoring the situation and the city remains open for business.

The latest updates on the river levels are here.