April washout continues as drought-stricken Britain is warned over flooding

Wet weather looks set to continue beyond the weekend, with a warning of thundery showers and strong winds in some parts of the UK

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The Independent Online

With the April washout set to continue, drought-stricken Britain was yesterday warned over the possibility of flooding.

The current wet weather looks set to continue beyond the weekend, with a warning of thundery showers and high winds in some parts of the UK.

By Sunday some areas of Britain could have had four inches of rain since the start of the month.

This is four times more than the usual amount.

The dramatic change in weather, following the high temperatures and heatwave in March, has been brought about by cold North West winds passing over hot air rising from the ground heated by sunshine. 

Sudden downpours are caused by the clash of hot and cold air, and could lead to flash-flooding on dry ground.

The much needed rain looks set to continue over the weekend, and comes amid a drought and hosepipe ban in most of the South and East of England.

With the showers set to continue throughout April, forecasters yesterday warned that Britain now faces the prospect of floods as the dry compacted soil means rainfall will not be able to permeate the ground.

Though there is a danger of flash-flooding due to downpours, the greatest risk of flooding has been identified as being at the end of the summer.

Craig Woolhouse, Environment Agency head of flood incident management, said yesterday,

"As the drought in England continues, the thought of flooding may be far from people's minds, but we cannot ignore the risk.

"Dry and compacted ground means that there is a greater risk of flash flooding if there is heavy rainfall, and stormy seas and high tides can produce floods at any time.

"Being prepared is vital to help reduce the risk of flooding."

Though the rain may be welcome in gardens, heavy downpours are less useful than lighter more sustained rain in combating drought.

Over the next few days the UK is likely to see a mixture of sunshine and showers - some of them heavy.

Forecasters have warned that Britain looks set to be hit by downpours that could continue throughout next week, with the more intense rain having the potential to cause flash-flooding.

Met forecasters have also warned that temperatures could continue to fall by a degree each day until Sunday.

The forecast is also bleak for Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, with steady rain expected to fall over Liverpool in the run-up to the race.