Britain on flood alert: Another day of heavy rainfall puts rivers at risk


Thousands of homes were put on flood alert tonight after another day of heavy rainfall.

The Environment Agency issues warnings for the North East - and said that rivers were reaching alarming levels in South Wales and the South West.

After last month's heavy snow the ground is saturated across the country, putting homes, roads and fields at risk.

Last night an Environment Agency spokesman said: 'Rivers are currently reacting to overnight rainfall and levels are relatively high.

Flood risk: Two people were rescued from their cars after flooding in Ingatestone, Essex, at the weekend. Pre-Christmas snowfall and heavy rain has left the ground saturated

Flood risk: Two people were rescued from their cars after flooding in Ingatestone, Essex, at the weekend. Pre-Christmas snowfall and heavy rain has left the ground saturated

'With further rain forecast overnight and tomorrow, and the ground approaching saturation point, further flood alerts and flood warnings may be issued across Wales and South West England.

'Environment Agency staff are on 24-hour alert and teams are monitoring river levels, checking flood defences and clearing river blockages.'

The Agency had two flood warnings in place last night alongside 60 less serious flood alerts in every region of the UK apart from the North West.

Yesterday the Met Office issued flash warnings of heavy rain for Wales and the South West.  More deluges are forecast for the South West today, and for the North West, South West and Wales on Friday.

The public are being encouraged to keep an eye on the latest forecasts in their area.

Lindsay Dovey, a forecaster for Meteogroup, said: 'The amount of rainfall is certainly more than we have had in a while, especially going into the next few days.

'There will be constant rain over the next couple of days in the west, with south-westerly winds affecting coastal areas.

South-west: River waters are rising to 'alarming' levels. In 2004 this was the scene after flood waters swept through Boscastle, north Cornwall

South-west: River waters are rising to 'alarming' levels. In 2004 this was the scene after flood waters swept through Boscastle, north Cornwall

'Thursday's rainfall will clear to the south-east by the evening but this will be followed with showers on Friday and more persistent rain over the weekend.

'It's going to be a very wet and windy few days.'

Although conditions will be soggy for many people, they will remain mild.

After the coldest December since records began 100 years ago, maximum temperatures will stay above 10C (50F) for much of England and Wales over the next few days.

The warning comes after hundreds of homes and shops in south Cornwall were swamped by flood water in November.

About 230 homes and 400 businesses were hit by the flooding, with Mevagissey, Lostwithiel, St Blazey and St Austell among them.

Flood warning information is available on the Environment Agency website or at Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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