As Britain faces an “unparalleled natural crisis”, in the words of one army officer in charge of the flood recovery, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, said that the effects of the disruption could derail the economic recovery.
As hurricane-force winds reaching 100mph battered Britain last night, forecasters warned that worse weather is still yet to come, with a month’s rainfall set to fall in 48 hours over the weekend.
Carney told ITV News: “There’s a big human cost here, […] then there’s the disruption to economic activity that we see not just through transport, but farming clearly will be affected for some time, and other businesses. It is something that will affect the near-time outlook.”
The Met Office issued a red-weather warning for winds for the first time in two years as gusts in some areas reached 108mph, while Premier League football matches were cancelled due to wind for the first time in 20 years.
By Wednesday night more than 5,800 homes had been flooded and 130,000 homes and businesses across England and Wales were left without power.
The UK could see as much as £13bn knocked off the value of the economy if at-risk flood areas suffer a month’s loss of output, one economist said to the Telegraph.
Richard Holt of Capital Economics said the effect could be to reduce GDP by just over 1%.