A wet Christmas: Hampshire village evacuated as heavy rainfall drenches the UK

Severe flood warning for Wallington prompted the evacuation notice, amid concerns that a river flood wall could collapse following heavy rain

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The Independent Online

A village in Hampshire is being evacuated as heavy rainfall continues to drench the UK amid fears that Christmas could be a washout.

The Environment Agency (EA) said a severe flood warning for Wallington prompted the evacuation notice, amid concerns that a river flood wall could collapse following heavy rain.

It said: "The Wallington Village next to River Wallington will be evacuated imminently by Havant Borough Council and the emergency services.

"This is due to a failure in the flood defence around the village. The river is currently just below the top of the defence and cracks have formed in the wall.

"The river level is very high and will remain so for some time.

"If the cracks become bigger and the wall fails catastrophically the village will inundated rapidly. Please taken action now."

Elsewhere, across the country several people have had to be rescued from their vehicles and train transport has been disrupted.

The Met Office expects more rain and the Environment Agency has issued 189 flood alerts and 30 flood warnings.

'Heavy rainfall through today and into tomorrow will fall on saturated ground across England and Wales leading to a widespread river response and surface water flooding', the Met Office said in a three day flood risk forecast.

A father and son were rescued by a police community support officer after their car became almost submerged in a ford on the Sway to Brockenhurst Road in Hampshire.

PCSO Jim Hordle told the BBC: "I'd been on routine patrol and came across the ford and could see a Porsche in there and two occupants trapped in the vehicle.

"We managed to get them out before the car went under completely.

"They are very lucky."

Fire crews in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall were reportedly all called to incidents, and flood defences have been put up in Worcestershire with river levels rising on the Severn and Avon.

River levels on the River Cober in Helston, Cornwall, are high after persistent rain yesterday, while the Dolphins River Park in Charmouth, west Dorset, was under threat from the River Char.

The River Wey in Weymouth, Dorset, was also rising, the EA said, and the Somerset Levels also face risk of flooding due to heavy rainfall of up to 20mm over last night on already saturated ground.

Further defences were set to go up in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

While the rain is forecast to ease off a bit tomorrow, it will set in again on Saturday and is expected to cause havoc in areas where the ground is already saturated.

Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said: "Tomorrow it will largely be dry in the South West, but by the evening the next band of rain will move in.

"That will stay throughout the weekend and into next week."