Flooding is back as gale season arrives

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Large swaths of Britain were back on flood alert last night as the first autumn gales brought misery in their wake.

Large swaths of Britain were back on flood alert last night as the first autumn gales brought misery in their wake.

On Sunday gale-force winds of up to 70mph were recorded in Brixham, Devon, and there was torrential rain in many parts of the country.

Several major roads in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent were underwater after gusts of up to 50mph led to firefighters being called out to remove dozens of fallen trees.

In Canterbury, Kent, torrential rain caused flooding to a hospital theatre at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells after temporary roof repairs buckled under the strong winds. Three operations had to be postponed.

And a home in Barcombe, East Sussex was struck by lightning – it blew apart the kitchen of the Victorian cottage – although no one was hurt.

More than 40 rivers were on flood watch in England and Wales. Environment Agency spokesman Ray Kemp said alerts had been issued onthe same rivers across the region that caused such problems last year.

"I would expect there to be localised flooding on many roads as a lot of leaves have come down. Motorists should take extra care," he said.

"There are some areas where we have only just got over last year's flooding....And even more worrying is that the same weather patterns we saw last year are forming again."

Meteorologists predicted the stormy belt will have moved over Scotland by this morning, and the AA warned drivers that the severe conditions could lead to zero visibility in the north-east.

In the south, a day of sunshine and showers was forecast, although high winds are expected to continue.

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