Icy water and floods lead to warnings from Fire Chiefs

As freezing weather and floods hit West Yorkshire, firefighters are warning people to be aware of the extra dangers.

Warnings over dangers of frozen water

People across the region are facing more flooding, rain and freezing weather over the next few days. The Environment Agency has issued two flood alerts for the county and fire chiefs are warning that icy water and floods could be a lethal combination.

It comes as the Met Office puts a yellow weather warning in place as the risk of snow and hail showers increase leading to icy conditions and disruption to transport. 

Hazel Reeve, Met Office advisor, said the wet cold weather could lead to dangerous conditions for drivers and cyclists. “The cold but settled weather looks likely to be with us the next few days with overnight temperatures falling below freezing and only rising to around five Celsius at best during the day,” she said. 

“Given the wet weather last week, any residual water will readily refreeze late afternoon onwards but remain throughout the day in sheltered parts across Yorkshire and Humber, especially where water has seeped off the fields and inclines leading to hazardous conditions for unsuspecting motorists and cyclists in particular.”

 Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer, said people also need to be careful when walking close to lakes, rivers and canals.

“We see time and again that getting too close to water at this time of year can have horrific consequences,” he said. “Not only are rivers full and fast flowing, but they are freezing cold and the banks are slippery and dangerous.

“At the weekend we saw how a woman got into trouble in the River Calder after she went close to the water to rescue her dog. Not only did she slip into the water, but a friend who hoped to help her ended up in the water as well.

“It is easy to underestimate how dangerous being close to rivers, lakes and canals can be, but the water is so cold that it the shock of it can really take your breath away and make your muscles to cramp. This means it’s very difficult for you to stay afloat. Also, if water does freeze over we are urging people not to try and walk on it, under any circumstances.”

The Environment Agency has issued two flood alerts for the River Ouse, the tidal section from Naburn Lock to Selby, as well as Upper River Ouse.

Anyone heading out for a walk always check the weather forecast, keep dogs on a lead near water and don’t throw sticks or toys into the water. If anyone gets into trouble in water call 999 and ask for the fire service.

Educational water safety resources are available through StayWise at

Also the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) has a winter safety page