UK weather: Whole of Britain warned to expect storms as January rainfall set to double average

Cold snap to give way to heavy rain and gale force winds on Friday

The whole of Britain has been warned to expect more storms towards the end of the week, with ground conditions in the wake of previous bad weather making more flooding all but inevitable.

Forecasters said there would be heavy rain “everywhere” from Friday, as experts said England and Wales looked set to hit double the average rainfall for January.

Up to 40 millimetres of rain could fall in parts of the south west of England and south Wales, and it will be accompanied by strong to gale force winds spreading eastwards across the country.

Today Britain woke up to a cold snap, with the mercury not expected to reach much higher than 5C and temperatures set to feel more like -7C in some areas tomorrow.

The Met Office has now issued a severe weather warning for rain and snow on Friday, going into the weekend, and issued a statement saying: “The public should be aware of possible disruption, primarily due to further flooding, chiefly in areas already, or recently, affected.”

A spokesperson said: “Everywhere will get heavy rain on Friday, pretty much the whole of the UK will get some form of rain shower.

“Twenty to 30 millimetres of rain is a fair amount but it is not huge - but coupled with the saturation on the ground, people need to be aware.

“We are talking about strong winds as well and there will be reduced visibility on roads when driving.”

An Environment Agency (EA) spokeswoman said: “A low pressure system combining with high tides could cause some coastal flooding around England on Friday and over the weekend. Strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of spray and wave over-topping in coastal areas during this period and some disruption from coastal flooding is possible.”

She added there was likely to be further flood advice issued in the coming days. The agency currently has more than 150 alerts and 25 more serious flood warnings in place across England and Wales.

“The country has faced an extraordinary combination of weather conditions over the last six weeks and our thoughts are with those communities that have, and in some places continue to, experience flooding,” she said.

It’s more bad news for residents of the Somerset Levels, who told visiting Environment Secretary Owen Paterson on Monday that they were living in “third world” conditions, with “overflowing” septic tanks and water in their homes.

Mr Paterson promised that a new plan to deal with flooding in the region would be drawn up within six weeks, which would “almost certainly” involving a project to clear the clogged Parrett and Tone rivers.