Festivities on hold as flood victims in UK prepare for more rain
Flood victims in Britain are facing a festive washout as many are forced out of their homes and into temporary accommodation – and forecasters are predicting more rain is on the way.
Large parts of the UK have been lashed with high winds and rain over the weekend, causing widespread flooding.
Southwest England, and Wales and northeast Scotland, have been the most affected, although the midlands is also on high alert as flooding threatens to ruin Christmas for many.
And despite a brief respite in the torrential downpours today, residents will be watching nervously as more rain is predicted from about 6pm tonight into the early hours of the morning.
Christmas preparations have been put on hold as people survey the damage to their homes and businesses and communities across the country are put on alert with hundreds of flood warnings remaining in place.
Traditionally the busiest time of year, business owners spent yesterday desperately trying to clear up. The holiday misery will be all the worse for those residents unable to return to their homes and forced to spend the festive period in temporary accommodation or with relatives.
There has been widespread travel disruption as water engulfed train lines near Exeter, Devon and dozens of minor roads flooded as swathes of countryside remain under water.
The Met Office yesterday issued a yellow warning for rain on Christmas Day, covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Somerset.
During a night of rescues, emergency services helped several people swept away in their cars and attended landslides brought down by the torrential rain.
The Environment Agency still has one severe flood warning – meaning there is “danger to life” – in place for the river Cober at Helston in west Cornwall, after heavy rainfall overnight. There are currently 160 flood warnings, urging people to take immediate action, across the UK, with the most in the southwest and the midlands, and 286 flood alerts.
Weather forecaster Tony Conlan said: “We certainly haven’t heard the last of the flooding stories. There is no sign of settled weather on the way for at least the next week.”
In Umberleigh, near Barnstaple in Devon, a woman was rescued in an “heroic” effort by a lifeboat team after clinging on to the branches of a tree for 50 minutes. – (PA)