New flooding risk as rain moves in


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Parts of England and Wales were warned to be ready for the risk of more flooding today as further heavy rainfall was forecast.

After a dry period of respite for many parts of Britain yesterday, the wet weather is set to return this evening and get worse going into tomorrow as a slow-moving area of low pressure brings thundery showers and strong winds.

The Met Office has issued a new warning of wet and windy weather with periods of persistent heavy rain for parts of Wales and south-western England from late today until Saturday.

Many parts of the country will be affected by rain as the system moves north, with winds of up to 55mph in parts of the South East and East Anglia, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

The Environment Agency urged people in the South West and most of Wales to remain vigilant and prepared for flooding.

There are concerns the rain could lead to surface water flooding particularly in upland areas and places already at risk of floods after heavy rain earlier this week.

The Environment Agency has two flood warnings for rivers in place, where flooding is expected, and 12 less serious flood alerts. The government agency has also issued direct flood alerts to more than 32,500 properties this week.

Pumping equipment has been deployed in several areas in West Sussex to pump out water following flooding earlier in the week.

The Environment Agency said river levels across the South East were being monitored closely amid forecasts of more wet weather, with potentially up to 20mm of rainfall tomorrow and into the weekend.

In preparation, teams were out closing flood gates, operating flood storage areas, clearing debris from known hotspots and warning local communities about the possibility of flooding.

Peter Quarmby, the Environment Agency's South East flood and coastal risk manager, said: "We have seen exceptional rainfall in the region over the past few days and have seen the devastating effects that flooding can cause. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected.

"We are focusing all efforts in working in areas that have been affected by flooding over the past few days to lower river levels and will continue to work alongside our emergency partners to assist flooded communities with immediate response and recovery.

"Latest forecasts indicate that heavy rainfall is again expected to cross the South East on Friday and into the weekend. We urge everyone to remain vigilant ahead of further rainfall tomorrow and over the weekend.

"We are monitoring the weather forecasts very closely and the possibility remains that we could issue further flood alerts in response to any significant rainfall."