Flooding expected after heavy rainfall from Storm Christoph

Date published: 20 January 2021

Flooding is expected across the borough following heavy rainfall since the arrival of Storm Christoph.

Flooding of property is expected due to high river levels from persistent rainfall.

The Environment Agency says there is a possibility of flooding for low lying land and roads around the Rivers Beal, Roch and Croal, Limy Water and their tributaries; a possibility of flooding for those from Stubley Mill Road to Carriage Drive; and a possibility of flooding for the area from Roch Valley Way to Yorkshire St and Albert Royds St.

The highest level forecast in Littleborough is 1.43m at 1.45pm Wednesday 20 January. Flooding of low-lying land may occur with levels above 1m, with potential property flooding above 1.54m. The river level is currently at 1.42m as of 10.30am.

The highest level forecast in Rochdale is 2.16m at 4.45pm Wednesday 20 January. Flooding of low-lying land may occur with levels above 1.5m, with potential property flooding above 1.91m. The river level is currently at 1.81m as of 10.30am.

Further rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours and river levels are expected to remain high until Friday.


The River Roch, Smith Street, Rochdale 1pm Wednesday 20 January 2021 - Greg Couzens
The River Roch, Smith Street, Rochdale 1pm Wednesday 20 January 2021 - Greg Couzens


Incident response staff are closely monitoring weather forecasts and river levels and will issue flood warnings if necessary.

Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses, be aware of your surroundings, and keep up to date with the current situation.


A number of rail services have been disrupted by the heavy rain and flooding. Rail continues to fall on already sodden ground and has flooded the tracks in many areas, causing delays and cancellations.

Weather-related issues are current impacting services on the following routes with trains suspended:

  • Manchester Victoria - Walsden

There is also disruption to services on the following routes:

  • Sowerby Bridge – Rochdale

A spokesperson for Northern said: “The adverse weather is having a significant impact on our ability to operate services across many parts of the north west.

“We are working closely with colleagues at Network Rail to get our services up and running as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’re asking customers who need to make essential journeys to check carefully before travelling.

The spokesperson added: “The difficult conditions are being experienced across a large part of our network and customers planning to travel today should be aware that any journeys could be affected and they should allow extra time for travel.”

For up-to-the-minute information about rail services please visit National Rail Enquiries or @Northernassist on Twitter.


The River Roch, Smith Street, Rochdale 1pm Wednesday 20 January 2021 - Greg Couzens
The River Roch, Smith Street, Rochdale 1pm Wednesday 20 January 2021 - Greg Couzens


Major Incident

Greater Manchester Police has also declared a major incident.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, Chair of the GM Strategic Coordination Group for Storm Christoph, said: "In order to ensure that we're as prepared as possible for the heavy rainfall expected from Storm Christoph, we have declared a major incident.

"The safety of the public is our number one priority and we're continuing to work alongside partner agencies across the region.

"Whilst we appreciate that everyone has been told to stay home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we want to make it clear that should members of the public need to evacuate to protect themselves due to flooding then that is the priority and you should follow your local authority's advice regarding evacuation.

"Coronavirus remains a threat to everyone's health and people should not leave their homes unless it is absolutely essential, but where there is a risk of flooding, that is clearly essential and we're working with our partners to ensure that people can do this as safely as possible.

"For anyone that needs to evacuate, we'd ask that you remain very aware of Covid-19 and continue to follow the government guidance around Hands, Face, Space as much as possible and limit your contact with other people.

"We would continue to urge anyone with concerns about flooding in their area to contact their local authorities who will be able to sign-post you to the most appropriate information and support.

"Partner agencies are working hard on local plans to ensure that people living in potentially vulnerable areas are notified at the earliest opportunity.

"Heavy rainfall is expected from later today and that could cause flooding in several areas across Greater Manchester - we are preparing for this and are continuing to monitor the situation very closely. We will continue to provide updates as often as we can."

What to do before, after and during a flood:

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