Heavy rain causes flooding chaos

 

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The Independent Online

Torrential rain led to flooded homes, road closures and havoc on public transport across parts of the country today.

Dozens of flood warnings and alerts were in place as the latest downpours continued to fall on ground already saturated after three months of record-breaking rainfall across the UK.

Almost 100 properties were flooded, the M50 was among a number of roads closed by the bad weather and flooding and landslips caused delays on major rail routes.

Six people had to be rescued from a flooded caravan park in North Yorkshire after heavy rain left the site under 2ft (0.6m) of water.

And the wash-out summer is set to continue in the coming weeks, with forecasters predicting the weather is still likely to be inclement when the Olympics start - although conditions are not expected to be as bad as they have been.

With continuing downpours tonight, the Environment Agency warned the country was "not out of the woods yet" in the latest floods to hit the country in recent weeks.

The worst affected area tonight and into Saturday morning is expected to be south west England, which has already seen extremely heavy rain, with 1.6in (40mm) falling in just half an hour in Somerset this afternoon.

Forecasters said a further 3.2in (80mm) is expected to fall across the South West tonight.

Northumberland could also see very heavy rain and flooding this evening, the Environment Agency said.

The south Pennines and north Midlands, including the areas around Manchester, Sheffield, North Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire which have been among the worst areas hit by the latest floods, also remain at risk of flooding into the weekend.

Craig Woolhouse, Environment Agency head of flood incident management, said: "We would urge people to remain on alert for flooding, especially in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

"It has been raining heavily today, and the situation could escalate quite quickly.

"We would also ask people to remember to stay away from flood water, and do not walk or drive through it, as it is often fast- moving and can contain sewage and other debris."

Many parts of the country have received more than half the average rainfall for July in just one day, and the Met Office is warning of continued heavy rain this evening and into tomorrow.

Severe weather warnings were in place across the Midlands and northern England, Wales, and also for parts of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Devon.

There were 50 flood warnings and more than 120 less serious flood alerts in place tonight.

The RSPCA urged farmers to move livestock from low-lying fields and ensure animals had access to food and shelter where possible, and for pet owners to keep their animals safe at all times.

The Environment Agency said 94 properties had been flooded across parts of England and Wales.

The Prince of Wales's visit to Hebden Bridge, which was badly hit by the floods which devastated parts of West Yorkshire and Lancashire two weeks ago, was delayed by the weather and he faced heavy rain as he toured the town.

The Highways Agency said the M50 in Worcestershire was closed westbound between the M5 and junction 2 and eastbound between junctions 2 and 1 due to the weather causing hazardous driving conditions.

On the M1 around junction 27 at Heanor, spray and surface water made driving conditions difficult and reduced visibility, while roads were closed in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

The London to Scotland East Coast main railway line was hit for the second time in little over a week, with services between Peterborough and Doncaster subject to 90-minute hold-ups, while other rail services faced delays, cancellations and diversions.

PA

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