Several parts of the U.K. are currently under serious flood warning, as one of the first major storms to hit Europe in 2021, Storm Christoph, is making its way through Western Europe. An advanced type of satellite radar that can pick up on detecting Earth's water levels from outer space is currently showing several rivers in the area, which are close to — or have already started — overflowing.
Keep reading for more on Storm Christoph updates, and on this fascinating technology scientists are using to predict future floods as a result of the storm.
What to know about Storm Christoph's path:
One of Europe's first major storms of 2021, Storm Christoph, is currently wreaking havoc across the U.K., flooding just about everything in its path. Over 2,000 residents in Wales and Great Britain have been evacuated, according to The Weather Channel, including a COVID-19 vaccine bottling facility in North Wales. A retirement community in Northwich, Cheshire also stranded 49 residents and employees, and they're still currently being evacuated.
Wales and parts of Northern England, such as Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire, were issued over 200 flood warnings on Thursday, Jan. 21, with five labeled "severe." Snow and rain continued to fall into Friday morning, rivers reached to "dangerously high levels," and certain regions had recorded almost 8 inches of rain between Tuesday and Wednesday. Families have since started returning to their homes, but with more precipitation in next week's forecast, officials are worried.
"There will be more to come," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an official statement, according to The Weather Channel, warning residents that the bad weather isn't over. "There will be further rain next week, so it is vital that people who are in potentially affected areas follow the advice."
ICEYE's real-time analysis of #StormChristoph shows large areas affected, but severe flood levels only in a few locations. So far 800+ buildings impacted have been identified across parts of northern and central England. Example from Swinton, South Yorkshire, 3am GMT January 21. pic.twitter.com/5BoBHJgVim— ICEYE (@iceyefi) January 21, 2021
Satellite radars used for insurance purposes are tracking Storm Christoph:
Satellites that generally help predict upcoming insurance claims are being used to track Storm Christoph. According to the BBC, one of Europe's biggest satellite radar companies, Iceye, has been looking at water surfaces during the storm, seeing through clouds and picking up on where floods are about to happen. It basically scanned the entire U.K. every 12 hours, providing updates with six orbiting spacecrafts. This is a new form of technology that is currently on the rise.
"Iceye's real-time analysis of the impact of the flooding from Storm Christoph as of 3 a.m. GT Jan. 21 shows that the extent of the flood is exceptionally large across many locations in the U.K., but that flooding was reaching severe levels in only a few locations," said Charles Blanchet, Iceye's vice president of solutions, as per the BBC.
As previously mentioned, Storm Christoph seems to be subsiding as of publication; however, more precipitation is set to fall in the U.K. early next week. That being said, if this could potentially affect you and your family, stay up to date with any potential flood warnings and evacuation protocols, and most importantly, stay safe out there.