Forecasters predict dryer spell for Britain


Britain is expected to be given some much needed respite from the torrential downpours that have caused flood misery up and down the country.

Forecasters are predicting a much dryer spell of weather across the UK today bringing a welcome end to the persistent rain that has caused misery for thousands of people.

But a number of flood warnings and alerts remain in place as drainage systems and river catchments struggle to come to terms with the record-breaking deluges that have left vast parts of the country saturated.

The Environment Agency (EA) has 13 flood warnings - eight in the Midlands, three in the Anglian region and two in the South West - and 62 flood alerts in place across England. A total of 28 warnings and alerts have been removed in the last 24 hours.

Today is St Swithin's Day and legend has it that if it rains it will continue to fall for 40 consecutive days.

But a lot of places are expected to remain dry - for the next 24 hours at least, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

Forecaster Brendan Jones said: "For a good part of the country today will be a dry day, one of the driest we have had in quite a while.

"Saying that, with the amount of cloud there could be one or two light showers in some places but they are not going to ruin anyone's day."

He added: "The lack of rain should give the water levels a chance to reduce and there will be the occasional sunny spells, but no where is going to get temperatures above 20C which is still pretty disappointing for summer."

Mr Jones said cloud is expected to cover large swathes of the UK tomorrow with some noteworthy rain in places.

Temperatures are expected to rise in Tuesday, but the northern half of the UK is expected to see further heavy showers on Wednesday with 30-40mm in some places.

Over the next 10 days Mr Jones said the weather will start to change for the better, with the chances of extended of dry, sunny weather increasing.

The wettest April to June on record, followed by more heavy rain so far this month, has caused widespread - and in some cases, repeated flooding.

Environment Agency officials have defended the Government's investment in flood defences following claims that nearly 300 planned schemes had been left unbuilt in the wake of budget cuts.

The Guardian said 294 flood defence projects that had indicative funding in 2010 to begin work in the following two years have not received any money.

The finding comes after Government advisers warned earlier this week that a £1 billion funding gap was opening up between what is needed to keep properties protected in the face of climate change and what is being spent on flood defences over the next few years.

:: The bookmaker Ladbrokes is offering odds of 33/1 on the St Swithin's Day legend coming true, which it said was the shortest it had ever offered.

It is also offering 6/4 that rain falls at the Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 27.


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