What summer...? Storms batter Britain and will last for at least another week

A month's rain in one weekend leaves Devon and Dorset flooded with more still to come

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A second week of July rain misery is expected from today, as communities recover from the flooding brought on by the weekend's torrential downpours.

Showery outbursts are expected across much of the country today, tomorrow and Wednesday, and while the forecast at the moment suggests Thursday will be drier, heavier rain is likely to return in time for next weekend.

However, this week's weather may not have quite the intensity of the weekend just gone, when more than a month's rain fell in many places, swelling rivers and streams to remarkable levels, playing havoc with road and rail transport and flooding homes across Britain.

The deluge prompted the final four water companies still operating hosepipe bans to lift the restrictions today and declare the drought officially over.

South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast all said "abnormally heavy rainfall" was the cause for the bans being lifted.

Worst affected on the weekend was the West Country, with Devon and Dorset badly hit. In Devon, residents and emergency services in Yealmbridge were left with a huge clean-up operation after homes were hit by up to 6ft of water when the River Yealm burst through sandbags. Muddy watermarks streaked houses, and tarmac on one of the roads in the small hamlet was ripped up under the weight of water. Mia Leech, 14, described "floods of the river coming down the lane". She added: "By the time we got half the stuff upstairs the water was already up to our necks and past our heads."

The River Yealm, normally about 18 inches deep, reached a record high of 7ft 6in, the Environment Agency said. Richard Cresswell, the agency's director of the South-west, said a month's rain fell on the Yealmpton area in just over 12 hours. "The river had come up to its highest level for 60 to 70 years," he said.