Britain is bracing itself for another series of devastating storms, as high tides, heavy rains and strong winds combine to cause yet more severe flooding to parts of the country.
The whole of the UK is facing “exceptional” bad weather in the coming days, with a high risk of flooding expected, particularly in coastal towns and villages.
The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 21 of the most serious severe flood warnings, indicating that there is a threat to life or property, to areas in the South West, Gloucestershire and Wales.
Ministers are warning residents, councils and power companies to expect the worst in terms of strong winds, heavy rain and flooding.
Homes in Newport were evacuated last night ahead of flood risks, as Wales prepared for the highest tides in 17 years, ITV News said.
Residents at the Lighthouse Park Estate were taken to a nearby leisure centre as a precautionary measure, while coastguards have been put on alert for storms bringing winds of up to 70mph.
The EA has also issued 188 flood warnings across England and Wales and a further 233 flood alerts.
The bad weather is worsened by high tides this morning, with the risk of flooding expected for between two and four hours either side of high water.
In Pictures: 2014 Winter floods
In Pictures: 2014 Winter floods
1/60 Floods in Surrey
Thorpe Park in Surrey sits in flood water
2/60 Floods in Surrey
Flood water at Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
3/60 Floods in Surrey
Flood water surrounds the M3 motorway near to Chertsey, Surrey, as Royal Engineers were now being tasked to carry out a high-speed assessment of damage to the UK's flood defence infrastructure
4/60 Floods in Chertsey
Tom Poulter surveys the damage in his flooded garden which backs on to the Thames in Chertsey
5/60 Floods in Chertsey
Tom Poulter wades across his flooded garden to his house in Chertsey
6/60 Floods in Chertsey
Laleham Reach resident of 20 years Tom Poulter wades across his flooded garden to his house in Chertsey
7/60 Floods in Chertsey
Carol Murdoch assesses the damage to her flooded shed in Chertsey
8/60 Floods in Chertsey
Laleham Reach resident Steve Rastall returns home with supplies of shopping and logs for the fire in Chertsey
9/60 Floods in Hurley
A woman uses a dinghy to transport her children from their property, which is situated adjacent to the river Thames and surrounded by flood water in Hurley
10/60 Floods in Hurley
The pavilion of Hurley Cricket Club, which is situated near to the river Thames, is surrounded by flood water in Hurley
11/60 Floods in Staines-Upon-Thames
Flood water surrounds housing in Staines-Upon-Thames, England
12/60 Floods in Wargrave
A large house near the River Thames is surrounded by flood water in Wargrave
13/60 Floods in Worcester
Floodwater in the town of Worcester in western England
14/60 Floods in Wraysbury
Nigel Gray leaves his home in a rowing boat after the river Thames flooded the village of Wraysbury
15/60 Floods in Wraysbury
The front gate to a house is seen surrounded by water after the river Thames flooded the village of Wraysbury
16/60 Floods in Wraysbury
A resident wearing homemade waders carries a dog through floodwater as residents begin to evacuate homes in Wraysbury
17/60 Floods in Datchet
Residents carry sandbags through flood water to protect their homes as flood water continues to rise after the river Thames burst it's banks in Datchet
18/60 Floods in Datchet
Locals look at flooded railway lines after river Thames burst it's banks in Datchet
19/60 Floods in Datchet
A man brings a family member home on a boat after flood water continues to rise after the river Thames burst it's banks in Datchet
20/60 Floods in Datchet
A youth cycles through flood water after the river Thames burst it's banks on February in Datchet
21/60 Floods in Somerset
Nigel Farage wades in water as he visits a flooded property at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater
22/60 Floods in Moorlands
A general view of an owners home that has been affected by flooding in Moorlands
23/60 Floods in Burrowbridge
Flood waters engulf a house with a wall of sandbags around it in Burrowbridge
24/60 Floods in Somerset
A car sits in flood water on a flooded property at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater
25/60 Floods in Burrowbridge
Devon and Somerset Fire and rescue service evacuate two women and two cats in baskets through flood waters in Burrowbridge
26/60 Floods in Moorland
A graveyard is seen underwater in the village of Moorland
27/60 Floods in Moorland
A graveyard is seen underwater in the village of Moorland
28/60 Flooding near Bury
A train heads to Pulborough over the Arun flood plain near Bury, England
29/60 Flooding in Twickenham
A car is submerged in flood water from the River Thames in Twickenham, south London
30/60 Flooding in Twickenham
Flood water from the River Thames covers roads in Twickenham, south London
31/60 Flooding Bristol
A cyclist struggles through flood water in Bristol
32/60 Flooding in Bristol
River defence barriers are put in place in Bristol after flooding from the River Avon
33/60 Floods in Somerset
A car drives through flood water on the Somerset Levels near Langport in Somerset
34/60 Floods in Somerset
Flood water collects in an allotment site near Langport in Somerset
35/60 Floods in Somerset
Flooded fields surround the River Tone that has burst its banks viewed from Windmill Hill, in Stoke-St-Gregory near Langport in Somerset
36/60 Floods in Somerset
Trees are reflected in flood waters on the Somerset Levels near Langport in Somerset
37/60 Floods in Somerset
Farmer Roger Forgan uses a boat to cross farm land in front of his flooded farm which has been cut off by flood waters at Muchelney near Langport in Somerset
38/60 Floods in Somerset
A man walks beside the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset, as flooding persists on the levels
39/60 Floods in Somerset
Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset
40/60 Floods in Somerset
An electricity survey helicopter flies over flooded farmland surrounding Burrowbridge in Somerset
41/60 Floods in Somerset
Flooded farmland surrounding Burrowbridge in Somerset
42/60 Floods in East Sussex
Anne Bourmer wades through flood water outside her home in Hooe, East Sussex, as more heavy rain sweeps across the country
43/60 Floods in Somerset
Flood water is pumped into the River Parrott by the Environment Agency in Moorland in Somerset
44/60 Floods in Somerset
A flood sign is seen in flood waters surrounding farm buildings in Somerset
45/60 Floods in Somerset
Debris washed up by flood water is seen at James Winslade's farm in Moorland in Somerset
46/60 Floods in Somerset
Farmer James Winslade stands in front of bales of animal feed as he surveys some of his 790 acres of flooded land at his farm in Moorland in Somerset, England
47/60 Floods in Somerset
Flood water surrounds a house in the village of Thorney in Somerset
48/60 Floods in Somerset
A car is seen submerged on the side of a flooded road leading into the cut-off village of Muchelney in Somerset. A local council declared a major incident on the flood-hit Somerset Levels where some villages like Muchelney have been cut off for weeks by flooding that has submerged roads and thousands of acres of farmland in the area of southwestern England
49/60 Floods in Somerset
A policeman on a boat looks at a car submerged on the side of a flooded road leading into the cut-off village of Muchelney in Somerset
50/60 Floods in Somerset
The village of Muchelney is seen beyond flood water in Somerset
51/60 Floods in Somerset
Residents disembark a boat after being transported from the cut-off village of Muchelney in Somerset on 27 January. A new plan to deal with a flood-hit area of south-west England will be drawn up within six weeks, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced as he was confronted by angry residents
52/60 Floods in Somerset
Pipes pump flood water into a river in Burrow Bridge, flood-hit Somerset on 27 January. A local council last week declared a major incident on the flooded Somerset Levels where some villages have been cut off for weeks by water that has submerged roads and thousands of acres of farmland
53/60 Floods in Somerset
Cattle feed in a barn in front of a flooded farm yard in the village of Thorney along the road to Muchelney on 24 January
54/60 Floods in Somerset
Workers from Pontoonworks build a pontoon along the road leading to the village of Muchelney to help villagers board a boat which has been used for transport along flooded roads on 24 January
55/60 Floods in Kent
Resident Jeff Hopcroft looks out from his flooded house on January 2, 2014 in Yalding, England
56/60 Floods in Kent
A resident measures the level of flood water outside his home in Yalding
57/60 Floods in Kent
A couple in a canoe travel across the flood water near Yalding
58/60 Floods in Surrey
Flood water from the River Mole rises after recent heavy rain in Leatherhead, England
59/60 Floods in Kent
A resident walks through the Little Venice Caravan Park in Yalding, Kent, as flood waters return to the site after recent bad weather
60/60 Flooding in Kent
Residents Ian Peacock and Caroline Hine leave the Little Venice Caravan Park in a boat after the heavy rains brought back the floods in the area
Waves of more than 30ft (10m) are expected to hit Devon and Cornwall, the BBC said, with authorities declaring a “major incident” and warning people to stay away from shorelines, where there are 14 severe flood warnings and 60 flood warnings.
In Scotland heavy rain and gusts of up to 60mph could sweep across the country today and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has warned that high tides and a storm surge have increased the risk of flooding in the Firth of Clyde.
Sepa has issued a flood alert for west central Scotland, warning that high water during early afternoon will be “exceptionally high” with large waves likely.
It has also issued eight flood alerts and 17 flood warnings for other parts of Scotland.
Emergency services will be under increased pressure because of today’s Fire Brigades Union strike today between 6.30 and 8.30am.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee, yesterday warned energy network companies to be prepared, following complaints it took too long to restore electricity to the more than 150,000 homes left without power in the wake of severe weather over Christmas.
But today Mr Paterson said he expected the power companies to do their best to prepare for the latest storm. Speaking on Sky News following the Cobra meeting in London, he said: “We are looking to have a combination of exceptional rain, wind and a surge in sea and high tides and so there are nearly 50 warnings put out around the whole of the west coast and south coast.
”We had a range of ministers from right across government attending the meeting, who will be working very closely with local councils, power companies, utility and transport companies, making sure that all of those organisations are absolutely prepared for the bad weather that is coming.“
At least two people have already died because of the extreme weather. A 27-year-old man from Surrey was swept out to sea off the coast of Cornwall on New Year’s Eve and, on Tuesday, a woman drowned at the popular beauty spot Croyde Bay in north Devon.
Elsewhere, in Dorset a search was carried out for a man who is believed to have fallen into the River Stour, near Iford Bridge in Christchurch.
Pete Fox, head of strategy at the Environment Agency, urged people to be vigilant and stay away from the coast.
He said: ”Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.“
Severe disruption is also expected on the transport networks and the roads.
The AA, which has attended 1,500 call-outs from those stranded due to floods since December 23, said some drivers were failing to heed warnings.
Darron Burness, head of the AA's flood rescue team, said: “Our patrols have seen it all in that time - including people ignoring road closure signs, blindly following their sat-nav or other drivers into deep water and 4x4 drivers naively thinking their car has amphibious qualities - and time and again they hear the same excuses that the driver didn't think the floods were very deep or that their car could deal with it.”
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