A month and a half’s rain in 36 hours, 40 flood alerts... but there’s still a drought

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


Rain continued to batter Britain today, with 40 rivers put on flood alert, and flood warnings requiring immediate action in place in five regions.

Nearly a month and a half's rain has fallen on South East England over the last 36 hours, and in Wimbledon, south west London, it has been raining non-stop since 4pm on Sunday.

Wiggonholt in West Sussex received the heaviest rain, with 63mm falling in the last 24 hours, while a particularly intense 12-hour period saw Otterbourne in Hampshire receive 39mm.

The Environment Agency said the bad weather is set to run into the weekend, with a “continued risk” of surface water flooding from overwhelmed drains in East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London.


But despite the heavy rainfall, an Environment Agency spokesman confirmed areas of southern England remained in drought.

He said: "The rain we have had since the start of April - following the driest March for 70 years - has led to a huge improvement in water resources, putting us in a much more positive position for the summer.

"Water companies have seen reservoir levels rise, river levels are mostly back to normal, and many wildlife habitats that were suffering due to a lack of water have recovered.

"While the risk of drought with further water restrictions and associated environmental impacts this summer has reduced, the situation could deteriorate again next year if there is not enough rain this winter, particularly as groundwater levels are still low for this time of year."

And the Met Office confirmed the UK was still well below its average rainfall for June, saying that between January and May, 392.5mm of rain fell across the country, compared to an average of 439mm.

In southern England - including drought-hit areas in East Anglia, the South East and the Thames Valley region - 281.8mm of rain fell from January to May, compared to an average of 303.2mm.

Despite the talk of drought, there are currently three flood warnings signifying ‘flooding expected, immediate action required’ in place in the South East - at River Colne in Colney Heath, Felpham on the Aldingbourne Rife and Bersted on the Aldingbourne Rife.

The other two flood warnings are in East Anglia; at Simpson to Willen Lake, and the River Ouzel at Leighton Buzzard.

The are a further 40 flood alerts in place, with 32 in the South East, five in East Anglia, 1 in the Midlands and 1 in the North East. A flood alert means 'flooding is possible, be prepared'.

More flood alerts are expected to be announced in new regions later today, with forecasts of torrential downpours in Torbay and South Devon in the South West.

Julia Simpson, the Environment Agency's regional duty manager, said: "With rain forecast for every day this week and potentially heavy rainfall at the weekend, we want people to stay aware of the risk of further flooding.

"Many roads have experienced surface water flooding and motorists are strongly advised to keep out of dangerous floodwater and not to attempt to drive through it.

"Some rivers have stabilised but others are yet to peak as the water moves through, so we could potentially see further flood alerts and flood warnings being issued.

The flooding has already wreaked havoc across the country, causing the evacuation of villages, and the closure of roads and a hospital.

Residents of Pennal in Mid Wales were evacuated last night following a breach in the dam of a quarry. This comes after 1,500 people were evacuated and 150 rescued in Mid Wales over the weekend.

Meanwhile, emergency cases at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex were diverted to Brighton and Chichester for several hours last night after flooding.

And the RSPCA said it was working closely with fire services to rescue stranded animals, including 20 cows left marooned on a river bank near Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex,

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam