Flood chaos is countrywide

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The Independent Online

Heavy rain continued to cause chaos across Britain today.

Heavy rain continued to cause chaos across Britain today.

Forty two severe flood warnings are in place on 30 rivers, with the worst hit areas still being Kent, Sussex, the North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Staffordshire Police said the affected areas were likely to be in the town centre and surrounding areas from Branston to Stretton, to the east of the Trent and Mersey Canal and along the river.

Burton-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, is the latest place to be put on alert because of the high-rising River Trent. Police warn that residents may have to evacuate their homes tonight.

The affected areas are likely to be in the town centre and surrounding areas from Branston to Stretton, to the east of the Trent and Mersey Canal and along the river.

The Environment Agency was carrying out an assessment of which places were at risk but police advised residents in critical areas to put personal property on first floors and evacuate their homes if they can.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "There is a severe flooding on the Trent river between Burton and Castle Donnington. Things are being made worse by the flood warnings on the nearby Derwent."

Residents in the affected areas received red warning letters earlier this summer about possible flooding, a Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said.

Historic Hampton Court in south-west London is also under threat, with the River Thames described as "very high".

In Yalding, Kent, floods returned for the third time this autumn, and just weeks after surging river levels led to 30 villagers being evacuated from their homes.

Flood waters were also back in Uckfield, East Sussex, another village recently affected.

The Environment Agency issued a severe flood warning in Surrey after the River Wey burst its banks, flooding more than 20 homes, and dozens of roads in Guildford were flooded after an overnight torrential downpour.

The River Thames between Shepperton and Teddington was also subject to a severe flood warning tonight, the agency added.

In North Yorkshire, emergency services pinpointed the towns of Barlby and Selby as the main trouble spots today.

Dozens of homes in the two towns have already been flooded, amid accusations from locals that they have been sacrificed to save badly-hit York - a charge denied by the emergency services.

In the North East, the Environment Agency said seven severe flood warnings were in place on five rivers, including the River Pont in Northumberland, and the River Wear in Co Durham.

In Ponteland, where Northumbria Police has its headquarters, around 100 homes were reported flooded after water from the River Pont deluged the village centre.

Fire crews were also out in Blyth, Morpeth and Rothbury dealing with water from overflowing rivers.

It was a similar picture in Co Durham, and east Cleveland where 400 residents of Skinningrove were under threat from torrential flood waters.

Persistent driving rain was moving over northern Britain today, with the worst weather concentrated over Northern Ireland and Scotland before spreading into northern England.

Heavy rain was also causing flood chaos across the east coast of Scotland.

Roads were closed in several areas of Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, where police warned motorists only to make essential journeys.

Meanwhile, more storms in the next couple of weeks could cause more serious flooding than already seen, the Environment Agency's chief executive said.

Ed Gallagher said: "We are beginning to get concerned about our flood defences, as they have taken a real battering. If we have another week or two of heavy rain we would see more serious flooding."

The bad news continued tonight as forecasters warned Britain faces more devastating storms over the coming months and must prepare for wild weather over Christmas.

Meanwhile, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were helping to evacuate 48 elderly residents from a nursing home in Kings Bromley, near Alrewas.

The Kings Bromley Care Home in Manor Road had become surrounded by flood water and heavy rains in the area over recent days.

One worried resident who lives in the village said: "People here haven't seen anything like it. The water outside the home is thigh-deep and only one ambulance can get to it at a time.

"They've been ferrying fragile residents out for several hours at five-at-a-time. It's pretty grim."

The residents are understood to have been taken to other care homes in the area.

Two youths have been arrested on suspicion of removing sandbags from flood defences in York.

A North Yorkshire police spokesman said: "We do treat this seriously and are surprised that people would remove sandbags and put people's lives at risk."