UK weather: 40mm rainfall to bring yet more flooding as country prepares for arrival of ‘beast’ of a storm

Severe warnings issued, with gale force 80mph winds expected to cause widespread disruption

It may be the last thing anyone in the south and south-west needs, but forecasters have warned of yet more heavy rain to hit the UK this afternoon.

Severe weather warnings have been issued to cover the next three days, and with 40mm (1.6ins) of rainfall expected in some parts of England and southern Wales the Met Office said it “will lead to further flooding”.

Two flood alerts of the most urgent level available to the Environment Agency (EA) – meaning a real danger to life – remain in place for the Somerset Levels, where many homes have already  been evacuated.

And when the fresh rains subside into Friday morning, they will be closely followed by what forecasters have described as a “beast” of a storm, bringing gale force 80mph winds that will batter the coast and topple trees.

Besides the worst-affected regions in south-west England and some of the south-east, the rest of southern England and Wales was issued with a yellow warning to “be aware” over the coming days. In total, the EA now has around 290 flood warnings in place across the UK.

David Cameron has announced that an extra £100 million will be set aside for flood defences this year and ordered the urgent start of river dredging efforts – despite strong EA opposition.

While yesterday it seemed the Prime Minister was taking over control from the Environment Minister to stamp his authority on the situation, it has now emerged Owen Paterson was forced to step aside to have emergency surgery on a detached retina.

The Government’s emergency committee Cobra will now meet to discuss the flood response chaired by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who will also make a statement to MPs.

In the Levels, which have been flooded since around Christmas and show no sign of drying out any time soon, not all residents have been willing to leave their homes.

Sue Sayer, in the village of Moorland, told BBC News: “They're advising, if you can, go. But there's an awful lot of people that are not because the risk then of looting if people see empty houses.

“There has already been looting in some properties, not directly in the centre of the village, but on the outskirts there's already been looting which is despicable.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who is set to chair Cobra in the absence of Owen Paterson, leaves a meeting of the emergency committee on Wednesday Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who is set to chair Cobra in the absence of Owen Paterson, leaves a meeting of the emergency committee on Wednesday The coast is set to bear the brunt of the storms at the weekend, after a key railway link to the west has already been cut off at Dawlish, Devon, when a section of the sea wall gave way.

Warning on Twitter about the approach of the new storm, dubbed “Petra”, BBC weather presenter Derek Brockway said: “And look at this beast heading our way for the weekend! Batten down the hatches again! Yet another #ukstorm.

“Wales will see strong to severe gale force winds Saturday, especially in exposed parts of the south and west. Gusts of wind in excess of 50mph inland and 70mph along the Bristol Channel coast,” he wrote.

A large section of Brighton's dilapidated West Pier was washed away in the latest storm on Tuesday night A large section of Brighton's dilapidated West Pier was washed away in the latest storm on Tuesday night Met Office forecaster Kirk Waite said: “The real thing with the second system is the strength of the winds.

“Once the initial band of rain comes in you are going to see severe gales that could bring potential issues with a risk of trees falling.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower