Convenience Stores across the country are battling against testing trading conditions as large swathes of England continue to be hit by heavy rain and high winds.
There are currently 240 flood warnings across the country, and the Environment Agency has also issued more than 270 flood alerts, mainly in the south-west of England.
Jenny Jackson of Toll Barr Post Office near Doncaster said her village, which was devastated by floods in 2007, was again on high alert. “Water levels in the river Don and its tributary are both very high again which is worrying,” she said. “I would advise all retailers in a similar position as us to join the emergency calling system. It’s free to do and can make the world of difference when you are at risk.
“I’d also advise people to move any important paperwork and other valuable items to higher ground where it will be protected. If you do have the misfortune to be flooded, hopefully your insurance company will be supportive. The important thing is to take things slowly, and accept help that is offered to you. Community spirit is so strong at times like this, it’s amazing the way in which people pull together.”
The Convenience Store website has a new Met Office weather forecast widget on its home page, on the right hand side. You can change the location by clicking on the ‘options’ button.
In Bigbury, South Devon, Holywell Village Stores owner Hilary Vanstone said she was doing her best to support customers, despite many local roads being flooded.
“Fortunately our store is on top of a hill so it hasn’t been flooded but many of the country lanes leading up to it are, which has caused a few delays to milk and newspaper deliveries as vans have had to be diverted,” she said.
“We’re doing our best to support our customers, although the heavy rain is putting people off coming out. We had quite a disappointing turnout for our annual Turkey Tasting evening on Saturday which is normally really popular.”
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) praised stores for their vital support of local communities.
“We are hearing that stores are going to be open as usual this morning, and that is extremely important for weather-beaten communities who need to access their daily essentials,” chief executive James Lowman said.
“People are being advised not to make unnecessary car journeys in some areas, so local shops become even more important at times like this. As well as providing essential products, shops are the focal point for local people helping each other to deal with these problems.”
The weather front is expected to slowly move across north England and north Wales today, with the Met Office issuing amber weather warnings for 50-70mm of rain in north-east England and Yorkshire and Humber regions. A further amber alert for north Wales warned there could be more than 90mm of rain on high ground.