Heavy rain hits Midlands

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RAIN LASHED many parts of Britain, flooding homes, businesses and roads yesterday. While most attention was paid to the West Country ahead of tomorrow's total eclipse, warnings of severe weather were issued for the Midlands, the South East and East Anglia.

Norfolk fire services received many calls after downpours took thousands by surprise. Phil Berry, station officer at Norfolk Fire Service HQ, said homes and businesses in the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston areas had been hit particularly badly. "There is damage to properties, warehouses, a doctor's surgery and public buildings," he said. "We are mainly pumping water out of people's properties and workplaces but there is a lot of flooding outside too."

In the West Midlands, 30 families in Balsall Common near Solihull were evacuated after flash floods.

In the South East, there was a "significant amount" of water on the M25 in Hertfordshire and on the M4 near Heathrow. The airport tunnel was reportedly waterlogged.

An AA spokesman said: "We are warning motorists to slow down a bit and keep their distance. People are driving too fast for the conditions."