More rain and 60mph winds warning as poor weather continues for the UK


Much of England and Wales will experience further downpours today
while strong winds of up to 60mph are set to batter parts of the UK over
the weekend.

The wet weather shows no signs of relenting and is likely to continue well into next week as one of the wettest Aprils on record comes to an end.

However the deluge is not expected to be enough to avert a drought across parts of the country and water companies are unlikely to lift their hosepipe bans.

Brendan Jones, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "The wettest areas today will be East Anglia, Wales and southern England, which can expect sharp, heavy downpours this afternoon.

"There's also likely to be some lightning and hail - the sorts of things we've got quite used to over the past week."

He said the rain was then expected to move northwards to north Wales and the North Midlands later, with the worst affected areas experiencing up to 10mm of rain.

"Tomorrow is not looking too bad but parts of England and Wales are going to get a real soaking on Sunday. Some of the wettest weather will be in southern England with up to 40mm falling. It will then move further north with Scotland and Northern Ireland getting the rain by Sunday night."

Mr Jones said gusts of 55 to 60mph were set to hit coastal areas on Sunday, but it was currently unclear which parts of the country would be worst affected.

"They are especially strong for what is ultimately getting towards late spring," he said. "We would not normally see such strong winds at this time of year.

"There will potentially be another band of rain on Tuesday. The weather isn't going to get any better in the foreseeable future."

So far this month there has been 175 per cent more rain than would be normal, MeteoGroup forecaster Nick Prebble said.

The Environment Agency said 10 flood warnings were in place in north-east England today while there were 38 flood alerts across the country.

Yesterday Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs the rain would not avert the drought and water companies were right to impose a hosepipe ban.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Spelman said this month's deluge did not make up for the last two dry winters and the Government was well prepared for this summer's drought as they had "seen it coming".

Labour warned there could be a shortage of drinking water as more people were relying on bore holes in their gardens.

The weather is good news for gardeners, who have welcomed the downpours.

Guy Barter, chief horticultural adviser at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: "The RHS and gardeners welcome the rain we have been having.

"Although several weeks of similar rain are needed to ease the drought and allow hosepipe bans to be lifted, the soil moisture levels are restored after a dry March. As soon as temperatures rise, plants will start growing vigorously.

"Established plants will need no watering, but newly planted plants will need watering when summer arrives. Water butts will have filled nicely by then, even those bought in the recent rush, and their contents can be used in the sunny summer we hope for, when these chilly April showers are long forgotten."


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