Woman dies as storms hit Britain
Winds and torrential rain in Britain left one person dead and forced hundreds from their homes as prime minister David Cameron promised the Government would “ensure everything is being done to help”.
His comments came as the UK Environment Agency revealed more than 800 homes have been flooded, with thousands of motorists rescued from water-logged roads.
A woman was killed when she was crushed by a tree as wild winds whipped southern England, bringing the week’s weather-related death toll to two.
Tonight, forecasters warned the worst may still be to come, with further rainfall and 60mph winds expected overnight, with experts warning people the conditions pose a “serious threat to life”.
Rainfall is estimated to be about 15mm across the spine of Britain tomorrow, less than the 30mm of rain in pockets of the West Country, but meteorologists said it would offer little respite to weary homeowners keen to begin the clean-up.
Mr Cameron today wrote on Twitter: “Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country. Govt will help ensure everything is being done to help.”
Although this afternoon saw a temporary respite, the agency has continued to issue warnings, with over 500 alerts now in place.
One severe flood warning - the highest alert possible - remains in place for the River Cober in Helston, Cornwall. At one point this weekend, four were in place.
More than 500 alerts have now been issued, including nearly 230 flood warnings - the second strongest alert - and confined largely to the Midlands as bands of rain which brought sorrow and destruction to the South West moved northwards.
A 21-year-old woman became the second victim to die as a result of this week’s weather after she was killed in Western Way, Exeter after becoming trapped under a fallen spruce tree which injured two others.
It follows the death of a man on Thursday who died when his car became wedged under a bridge near a ford in Rectory Fields, Chew Stoke, Somerset.
There were serious problems across Britain and Wales, with Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire badly affected today.
Environment minister Richard Benyon met people in Malmesbury where three feet (90cm) of water was reported in some parts of the Wiltshire town.
He described the clear-up work as “heroic”, adding: “While many houses have been flooded, some haven’t because of the efforts of these people.
“The Government’s job, first of all is to make sure people are as prepared as possible with a changing climate ... for these extremes of weather. Secondly, we’ve got to continue building flood defences.”
Both the RAC and AA breakdown services reported surges in flood-related call-outs as roads and highways across the country were closed due to perilous standing water.
But that has not deterred many motorists from taking their chances, incurring the wrath of one emergency worker who hit out at risk-takers.
National Rail said the severe weather is disrupting services across the southwest.
Property owners across the country are tonight preparing for another deluge - and forecasters have warned the situation could get worse before it gets better.