Forecasters warn of more heavy rain


Forecasters have warned of more flash flooding as householders and businesses continue the clear-up from last week's devastation.

Although this week will get off to a dry start in many areas, torrential downpours are expected by Thursday.

The Environment Agency issued five flood warnings last night, four in the North East and one in the North West.

This was a sharp drop from the number in place over the weekend, but with the ground already saturated after a month of wet weather, the flooding risk when the rain returns will be higher than that usually posed by heavy showers, forecasters said.

Downpours and thunderstorms across northern England, Scotland and parts of Wales are predicted for Thursday, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

Senior forecaster Matt Dobson said: "Flash flooding is certainly likely in parts of the UK on Thursday.

"After a very warm and humid start to the day, there will be an increasing risk of rain in central and northern areas, which is where flooding is most likely."

The start of Wimbledon is set to be spared the deluges, with the weather unlikely to disrupt play today.

But Tuesday could see a few interruptions, as patchy rain moves eastwards during the day.

By Wednesday, temperatures are set to climb to 24C, which could make it the warmest day of the month, Mr Dobson said.

Cumbria, Lancashire and West Yorkshire suffered widespread flooding on Friday night but river levels have since dropped.

In some places a month's rain fell in 24 hours, leaving hundreds of homes swimming in dirty water and prompting forecasters to say the country could be on course for one of the wettest Junes of the last 100 years.

The River Yarrow burst its banks in Croston, flooding around 70 homes which had to be evacuated.

Firefighters had to rescue people from cars trapped by flash flooding in the Yorkshire Dales; an 80-year-old pensioner was taken to hospital with serious injuries following a collision in heavy rain in the Scottish Borders; people were rescued by boat from their flooded homes in Wigan; roads were closed because of a high risk of a landslip in Argyll and Bute; and widespread travel chaos saw rail services cancelled.

Damage assessments and clean-up work has continued in the worst-hit places, which included Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire and the village of Croston.

Meanwhile in Cheshire, Paul Weller's gig at Jodrell Bank was cancelled yesterday for health and safety reasons due to the weather.

Heavy rains also caused chaos at the Isle of Wight Festival over the weekend and drivers were forced to sleep in their cars when the car parks at Seaclose Park, Newport, became flooded and inaccessible with mud.

The queues caused ferry companies to suspend their services and about 600 people were stranded on ferries on the Solent as the cars could not disembark because of backed-up traffic on the island.

Rainfall at BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend in east London failed to deter the crowds however.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh will ask an urgent question in Parliament about the floods at 3.30pm.