UK weather: Eight flood warnings and 48 alerts issued as rivers could burst banks in hours | Weather | News
Just hours after a major freeze hit Britain, torrential rain is now falling across much of the country and flood warnings and warnings are now in place across England’s south coast. The Environment Agency has activated 48 flood warnings, meaning the excessive rainfall could cause problems. But there are eight warnings for major rivers across England feared to burst their banks – and potentially cause flash floods. The guidance urges people to act now – with water expected to clear gardens, fields and properties in the hours to come.
The Cuckmere River in Alfreston, East Sussex is one of eight rivers expected to cause problems in the area. EA’s warning said: “The Cuckmere River is high and rising. 35mm of rain has been recorded in Cowbeech in the last 24 hours. From 11am today, fields, country roads, gardens and properties will be affected by flooding
“Another 10mm of rain is expected between 9am and 12pm Monday, with showers possible Monday evening and also into Tuesday morning. The river may not begin to fall until Tuesday noon.
“With unsettled weather forecast for the next five days, the Cuckmere River may not return any closer to normal by the end of the week. The river level could reach a peak similar to November.
“Flooding can be deep and dangerous, please use caution when walking near the river in Alfriston.”
Other rivers are The Bull River at Hellingly and Horsebridge, East Sussex, Mock Bridge, near Shermanbury on the River Adur, West Sussex, River Avon from Didworthy to Aveton Gifford in Bristol, River Ax from Axminster to Axmouth between Dorset and Somerset, River Ax (Upper) from Winsham to Axminster, the River Parrett in Dorset and the River Wriggle at Chetnole, also in Dorset.
The 48 other alerts, which are not as serious but warn of possible flooding, are scattered across the south-east and south-west of the country.
A flood warning is urging people to act, not plan, as flooding is expected. Residents living in the affected areas are being urged to move their vehicles to higher ground if safe to do so, get family and pets to safety, bring valuables – and furniture – upstairs, use gas, electricity – and shut off water supplies and take countermeasures.
These can be flood barriers or air brick covers.
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The government warnings come after the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for rain, which is in effect until tomorrow. It includes Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, West Sussex, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Devon, Dorset, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.
It said: “The rainy spells will continue intermittently into Monday and will dissipate early Tuesday, by which time a further 20-40mm of rain is likely to have fallen over the area.
“Although still wet as of Tuesday morning, south Wales and parts of south-west England are likely to see less rain from now on, making impacts less likely which is why the warning area has been reduced. The probability has also been reduced for the warning area.”
In terms of what to expect, experts said more spray and flooding on the roads could cause delays, along with delays in bus and train services. Some homes and businesses could also be flooded.
Those who take to the streets today should avoid routes at all costs. The Met Office guidance says: “If the road is flooded, turn around and find another route. The number one killer in floods is driving through flood waters, so the safest advice to turn back is not to drown.”
Although the water may appear shallow, your car can swim out of as little as 30cm of moving water, possibly taking it into deeper water from which you may need to be rescued. Flooding also has hidden dangers that can damage your car, and just an eggcup of water sucked into your car’s engine will result in serious damage.”