Heavy rain worsens flood misery


Heavy rain worsens flood misery

Flooding across the UK is set to worsen as experts warn of "substantial" rainfall in the next 24 hours.

It will compound misery for those in areas already suffering from severe floods following the downpours earlier this week, which forced hundreds to evacuate their homes and killed a driver.

Meanwhile, a man has gone missing after falling into a canal in heavy fog in Watford, while three elderly people had a narrow escape after their car was swept down a swollen river in Warwickshire.

The Environment Agency (EA) has 44 flood warnings and 153 less serious flood alerts in place as England, Wales and Scotland braces itself for one inch of rain and gusts of up to 60mph. The Met Office is forecasting heavy rain and strong winds across all parts of the country over the weekend. The heaviest and most persistent rain is forecast for this afternoon in western England and parts of Wales.

The Environment Agency said river flooding is likely with the possibility of significant disruption, particularly across Devon, North Somerset, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Wales. It added: "Strong winds will also increase the risk of flash flooding as drainage channels are likely to become blocked with wind-blown debris. The rain will spread north and east, increasing flood risk in north east and north west England on Sunday. The picture remains unsettled for the start of next week."

Emergency teams from the Environment Agency have been working through the night and this morning to shore up defences, deploy temporary barriers, monitor river levels, clear blockages from watercourses and pump out flood water from towns.

Latest figures show that nearly 400 properties have flooded across the country since Tuesday and the Environment Agency has sent warnings to about 9,000 properties at risk of flooding. Environment Agency flood defences have protected 21,800 properties across England and Wales, including in Cheltenham, Teignmouth and Weston-Super-Mare.

A 50-year-old man fell into a canal while walking with friends along a towpath near Wiggenhall Road in Watford in heavy fog during the early hours of the morning. Meanwhile, it has emerged that three elderly people have had a lucky escape after being rescued from their car when it was swept down a swollen river in Warwickshire.The incident happened just off the A435 in Coughton Field Lane, Coughton near Alcester at around 11.30am on Friday.

The silver Corsa was carried for more than 500 yards before a local farm managed to secure the vehicle and bring it to the water's edge, West Midlands Ambulance Service said. Firefighters, using rescue boats, travelled out to the car to save the occupants, pulling them out of the windows of the vehicle. The two women and a man, whose ages have not been revealed, were treated for shock and hypothermia, the ambulance service said.

People are being advised to check the Environment Agency website for the latest information: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood and sign up for free flood warnings on the Environment Agency's website or by calling the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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