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Thousands of homes threatened by flooding

MORE THAN 250 rivers across southern Britain remained on flood alert last night after days of heavy rain and gales put thousands of homes at risk.

The Environment Agency said the threat of further rain could create widesspread flooding along many rivers. High tides and rain were expected to hit Wales and the west coast, the agency said. "With further rain forecast on top of many days of rain and wind, we are not out of the woods yet," said a spokesman. "Nationally there are 175 yellow, 83 amber and 12 red river flood warnings in force. People in flood-affected areas must remain vigilant and prepared for flooding."

He added that Sussex and Kent were the most vulnerable to flooding after 48 hours of almost continuous rain. The homes of about 200 people in East Sussex had to be evacuated on Christmas Day.

The lower reaches of the River Severn were on red alert, with its waters threatening homes and large areas of land. In Wales, large stretches of the River Wye were also on flood alert and a warning was issued for the whole of the Sussex coastline.