UK weather: No respite from storms set to continue into next week

More than 500 flood warnings and alerts issued

Forecasters have warned that there is more extreme weather to come next week as Storm Ruth batters Britain with gales, torrential rain, huge waves and yet more flooding.

Gusts of up to 80mph across southern England and Wales are causing power cuts, travel disruption and damage to property, combined with a deluge of up to 40mm of rain in places.

The West Country is now completely cut off by rail following a landslip on the line at Crewkerne in Somerset and flooding at nearby Bridgwater and Athelney.

The latest blow comes days after a stretch of the rail line connecting Cornwall to the rest of the country fell into the sea at Dawlish in Devon, when an 80 metre stretch of the sea wall was destroyed by high tides and stormy seas.

The winds have whipped up waves of up to 35 feet in Cornwall and along other exposed coastal areas, prompting warnings from the RNLI that onlookers could be “swept off their feet”. Forecasters from surf website have dubbed the storm an "absolute monster".

Severe weather warnings are in place, urging people to make provision for further flooding and power outages.

The Environment Agency has issued more than 500 flood warnings and alerts across the country, two of which pose “a danger to life”.

The misery caused by the wettest January on record shows no sign of abating, with forecasters warning of a “conveyor belt of storms” on their way to the UK.


Paul Gundersen, Met Office chief meteorologist, said: “We have another Atlantic storm bringing gales and heavy downpours to many parts of the UK this weekend.

"Monday is expected to bring a brief respite from the stormy conditions before more strong winds and rain set in from the west on Tuesday.

"This will bring the continuing risk of flooding and damaging winds bringing down trees to cause disruption to travel and power networks."

Amid growing discontent, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has ordered an audit of flood defences following Friday’s meeting of Cobra.

It was the second time the government’s emergency committee has met to address the flood crisis.

Mr Pickles said: "We continue to make sure every preparation is made before the severe weather expected this weekend and the following days.

"I want to pay tribute to all the people who have rallied to support those communities affected.

"I want to reassure the country that everything possible is being done to help those communities affected by these terrible storms, and work to be prepared for any further bad weather we may see in the days ahead."

Changes to the Bellwin scheme, which reimburses local authorities following disasters, should mean an extra £15million is available to cover the costs of defending properties in affected areas.

Gatwick Airport has waived fees for additional Flybe flights between Newquay and London to alleviate pressure on the transport system in the south west. .

The Ministry of Defence has put 1,500 personnel on standby to help in the south if needed.

The fresh storm comes as Royal Marines have been drafted in to help evacuate areas of the Somerset Levels after heavy rain overwhelmed local defences.

Since before Christmas, around 5,000 properties have been affected by flooding across the country and thousands more have had power cuts.

Additional reporting by PA

Read more:

Hold on to your cats: RSPCA warns that pets could be blown away in wild weather
Fury rises with the flood waters causing havoc
Out of his depth? The man who refused to be moved
Residents rage at peer while Somerset drowns
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk