Extra hours at BBC Local Radio during Storm Dennis

BBC Local Radio stations around England provided extra hours of programming during Storm Dennis, dropping network shows in favour of local content.

In the West Midlands, a BBC Hereford and Worcester reporter continued to provide updates on the radio despite being stuck in her home.

The ground floor of Nicola Goodwin’s house is flooded with 2ft of water but by using her phone she was able to keep working and supplying reports to BBC Hereford and Worcester Local Radio and BBC News.

Nicola said: “I worked for 16 hours yesterday. It’s just about all I can do. I can make a cup of tea at least but the fridge and freezer is defrosting now. It’s hard to sleep the water is so noisy it’s like being next to a busy motorway. Hopefully the water has peaked now and will start to go down.”

Nicola – who has worked for the BBC since 2002 – is also an open water swimmer but she joked that even she wouldn’t try her chances leaving the house in these conditions.

She was on-air throughout the weekend while BBC Local Radio has been broadcasting specials for audiences hit by flooding. The station’s efforts for BBC Local Radio were praised by Mark Garnier the MP for the Wyre Forest who wrote on Twitter: “I spent all day listening to BBC H&W, running an all-day flood update service. This shows public sector broadcasting at its very best.”

As the water levels rose in York and Leeds, the BBC’s local teams dropped their regular schedules and broadcast round the clock on Saturday and Sunday. There were regular updates from the Flood Wardens in the Calder Valley. The Chief Executive of the Calderdale Council, and Editor of the Yorkshire Post praised the coverage of Radio Leeds, while Rachael Maskell the York Central MP praised Radio York.

BBC Radio Cumbria broadcast live until midnight on Saturday and Sunday and in Manchester additional reporters were deployed across the region to bring listeners the latest.

George Eustice the MP for Camborne and Redruth and the newly appointed Environment Minister said on Radio Cornwall’s Breakfast Show this morning that Radio Cornwall was very important to our communities. While Kevin Foster the MP for Torbay speaking on Radio Devon over the weekend paid tribute to the work that Local Radio to do.

In the East, Radio Suffolk offered additional local programming between 6 and 9am on Saturday evening to cope with the damage the floods had damaged the Orwell Bridge, which saw traffic in Ipswich post football brought a standstill

In the Midlands Storm Dennis started to hit on Sunday. BBC Hereford and Worcester rearranged their schedule to focus on the weather and were live till 10pm, as were Derby and Shropshire. Today Hereford and Worcester started their Breakfast at 5am as they anticipated problems with flood damage

Hampshire saw the worst of the floods on Sunday, with trains at a standstill between Southampton and Bournemouth and the studios in Dorset being flooded. Radio Solent was live Sunday evening till 9pm.

While in Sussex and Surrey and Kent they dropped planned programming in favour of live flooding updates on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Chris Burns Head of Digital and Audio for BBC England said: “This weekend BBC Local Radio was a lifeline to communities. The teams were out there offering to-the-minute trusted news, and travel information – like no other service does. It also shared the stories of how people were coping. Providing solidarity and companionship for its listeners, many of whom were finding their homes and businesses under threat for the second weekend in a row.”

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