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People and communities

Update: Action being taken to protect York against Storm Dennis

Published Saturday, 15 February 2020

City of York Council is continuing to put in place measures across the city to protect homes, businesses and to keep York open for business this weekend and the coming week.

The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed levels on the river Ouse in York are forecast to be close to the levels in 2000. Current forecasts from the EA are showing a potential river level of up to 5.2metres and a worst case level of a potential 5.4metres.

The EA expects the river to peak on the evening of Monday 17 February. Conditions remain unsettled with further rain forecast over the next 48 hours which could result in changes to the levels and peak timings. The Environment Agency river forecasters will continue to monitor the situation 24/7 and provide further updates.

Council deploying flood defences

On Boxing Day 2015, there was lots of rainfall coming down the River Foss but the EA are not expecting a similar situation this weekend.

The flood levels for the next 36 hours are published on the EA website.

The multi-agency flood plan, in partnership with City of York Council, has been enacted. The flood gates remain closed and the Foss Barrier is in operation.

As of Saturday 15 February the council has:

  • deployed over 1,000 sand bags and 200 one tonne sand bags to create new flood defences at Bishopthorpe
  • strengthened the Peckitt Street defences
  • put additional sand bags and pump equipment at Tower Gardens
  • raised the Clementhorpe defences
  • put additional pumps and defences at the A19 and Germany Beck junction
  • following on from earlier in the week, our front line teams have continued sweeping streets
  • have cleared out 300 gullies following Storm Ciara in high risk areas of the city to ensure drains work as efficiently as possible

This evening teams will be working with residents in Fulford and Fishergate to sandbag vulnerable properties.

Tomorrow morning’s focus will be on the highest risk properties in Naburn, Clementhorpe, Fishergate and Bishopthorpe.

For the latest information and advice visit:

Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“With significant rainfall and strong winds forecast this weekend, and the unpredictable levels of snow melt, we are closely monitoring the situation with partners.

We have spent today strengthening our flood defences and will tomorrow be helping the residents in the most at risk locations with the provision of sandbags to protect their homes and businesses. And we’re taking precautions to keep our fantastic city open so residents and businesses can enjoy all York has to offer.

We ask that people continue to keep an eye out for the latest information and alerts from the Environment Agency which provides river levels for the next 36 hours in York , and look out on friends and neighbours who may need support. And above all, stay well away from the rivers and flood water.”

Ian Floyd, interim head of paid service of City of York Council, said:

“I’d like to thank all our staff and key services who are working tirelessly to keep York safe and open for all residents and visitors so people can enjoy all York has to offer.”


The council provides sandbags to communities* at immediate risk of flooding - they don't need to contact us.

When river levels are expected to be high, we’re unlikely to be able to provide sandbags or other defences to other communities; our sandbag policy details how we prioritise use of our sandbag stock:

  1. repairing existing flood defences
  2. preventing flooding to large areas of residential* and commercial property
  3. protecting utilities, hospitals, schools, residential homes and emergency services buildings
  4. critical transport routes and essential roads
  5. individual residential or commercial properties

Sandbags from our stock will only be made available to individual residential or commercial properties if:

  • there's an immediate threat of flood
  • we'll have enough stock remaining to continue protecting priority areas
  • flood waters aren't expected to rise above existing defences in priority areas

We may charge you for providing sandbags, or any help to build flood defences, at your residential or commercial property.

You should be able to buy sand and bags from the following places:

You can:

You can also follow @EnvAgencyYNE and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest updates. Or call Floodline on 0345 9881188

Keep up to date with the weather forecast and weather warnings at or tune in to BBC Radio York or Minster FM.

Follow advice from North Yorkshire Police about driving in wet conditions.