Troops on standby as more rainfall predicted

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Troops and lifeboats were placed on standby yesterday as heavy rainfall continued to cause mayhem across the country.

Military personnel and emergency services were brought in to prepare sandbags, heavy-duty water pumps and rescue centres in North-east England amid fears of further downpours. Authorities continued to warn of floods across the country, and it has been estimated that the total cost of the damage could exceed £1bn.

Liz Anetts, from MeteoGroup UK, told people in the Doncaster area to expect heavy, thundery showers. "It's just adding to what's gone before," she said. "This rain alone isn't enough to cause flooding but it's going to exacerbate the problems which have already been experienced."

The Met Office has early severe weather warnings of heavy rain in place for the whole of England and Wales until Tuesday.

Yesterday the Environment Agency warned of further "extreme weather" in South Yorkshire. The agency's head of flood policy, Philip Rothwell, said: "The picture is of heavy showers coming through quite quickly." The agency said the rivers could cope with extra rainfall.

Large-capacity pumps and sandbags were made ready in Hull, the East Riding and North-east Lincolnshire, where substantial rainfall was expected. A Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew was brought in to provide aid in South Yorkshire, and a national flood support centre was set up in Worcester.

Further pumps from across the country arrived in one of the worst flood-stricken areas of Toll Bar and Bentley, north of Doncaster. The area remained under several feet of water.

Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, said:"This is a very serious situation. I am talking to government colleagues about what more can be done to help people out of their situation.

More than 27,000 homes and 5,000 businesses have been affected by the storms.