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Britain braces for more rain and flooding chaos


Residents across the UK are bracing themselves for further flooding with heavy downpours predicted to heap more misery on rain-drenched areas of Britain.

Large swathes of the country are expected to be lashed by spells of further rainfall in the coming days as the ground remains heavily saturated and river levels teeter close to bursting point following a prolonged spell of wet weather.

The Environment Agency (EA) has seven flood warnings and 36 flood alerts in place in England and said that more are likely to be issued in the coming hours.

Pulses of heavy rain and showers are expected to hit most parts of the UK throughout today with some of the worst-hit areas experiencing local rainfall totals of up to 60mm, according to forecasters.

Experts also predict the unsettled weather will last until at least Thursday with the threat of heavier, more prolonged rain on Thursday.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning of rain for the Midlands, while yellow warnings are in place in south west England, north west England and east Scotland.

Met Office weather expert Michael Lawrence said: "Although the amounts are not that exceptional, river catchments are already very full and the ground is quite saturated so there could be problems."

The national forecaster added: "Heavy rain is expected to break out early today and become more widespread through the morning before clearing away eastwards. However, some heavy showers or thunderstorms are expected to develop in places again during the afternoon.

"The public should be aware that large amounts of rainfall may bring a risk of surface water flooding, as well as general difficult driving conditions."

Billy Payne, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the Midlands, northern England and East Anglia would see the worse of the heavy, slow-moving bands of rain with rainfall totals of around 20-30mm expected.

EA officials have urged communities up and down the UK to remain alert over the threat of flooding.

The agency parts of northern England and Dorset were facing a significant risk of surface water and river flooding, with the Midlands and East Anglia also at risk.

In Dorset, particularly in the Christchurch and Bournemouth area, river levels continued to rise yesterday as a result of the weekend's rain.

Residents at Iford mobile home park in Bournemouth spent the night in alternative accommodation after they were asked to evacuate their homes because of the high risk of flooding yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hebden Bridge in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, was hit by flash floods yesterday with the authorities warning locals to stay indoors. Parts of the town were also left impassible by car and the local library was evacuated following a sudden downpour that brought nearly a month's worth of rain, more than 40mm, in three hours.

The deluge came as residents continued to clear up from last month's floods, which affected more than 500 homes and businesses in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd.

The A35 in Dorset was closed in both directions this morning between Monkeys Jump Roundabout in Dorchester and the Longland's Lane junction in Winterbourne Abbas, because of flooding.

Parts of the A38 in Derbyshire were also closed due to floods.