More storms ahead to batter Britain

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The Independent Online

More stormy weather will batter Britain later this week, forecasters predict. By Thursday more downpours are expected to add to already high river levels, particularly in Wales, the south west, north west and west Midlands.

Widespread rain could bring rainfall totals of 30-50mm with up to 70mm on higher ground.

Forecaster Tom Tobler, from Meteogroup UK, said the north west of the country was likely to be worst affected. "Starting today, through Thursday and Friday there could be a stream of heavy rain, especially in the north west so there is a risk of flooding."

Saturday saw winds of 70mph, with gusts reaching a top speed of 100mph in outlying areas, driving rain and lightning strikes in southern regions.

The gale-force storms prompted almost 5,000 calls to the Environment Agency's helpline. The agency is warning homeowners to be alert to the risk of flooding. In preparation for more to come Environment Agency workers are also carrying out routine inspections of waterways, clearing drains of debris and checking flood defences.

Over the weekend, they used bulldozers to shore up shingle banks in Medmerry, West Sussex, to protect properties from sea flooding and closed floodgates at Lymington in Hampshire and Christchurch, Dorset.

Officers also spent Friday night and Saturday pumping surface water away at St Clears in Carmarthenshire.

Ken Hunt, from the Environment Agency said: "It seems to have died down now but we expect to see the flood risk in some areas increase as some catchments are slower to respond to flooding than others. So as water moves through the system and drains away flood warnings may go up.

"We are preparing for Thursday and Friday because the rivers will still be high and the ground will still be wet and there is a lot more rain to come."