Further severe storms threaten the UK

A man has died and thousands without power during Britain’s storms yesterday

Police divers patrol the village of Wraysbury, Berkshire in the UK on Wednesday. Britain’s flooding situation continues to worsen. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Police divers patrol the village of Wraysbury, Berkshire in the UK on Wednesday. Britain’s flooding situation continues to worsen. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

 

Britain is bracing for an even worse storm as it struggles to recover from yesterday’s weather chaos when a man was killed and thousands left without power.

Forecasters warn that despite an ease in the bad weather today, the storm coming in from the Atlantic tomorrow could be even more severe.

Gusts of more than 160 km per hour hit western England and Wales last night.

The British Met Office said severe flood warnings remained in place for much of the south and west of the country.

BBC Weather’s John Hammond warned the storm coming from the Atlantic tomorrow would be “every bit as intense, if not more” than yesterdays.

“It looks like being the wettest winter on record and the groundwater has got nowhere to go,” he said.

“The ground is like a sponge, the sponge is full to overflowing. What we don’t need is more rain. (But)what we’re going to get is another storm.”

Forecasters are also warning of the possibility of significant snowfall in Northern Ireland, southern Scotland and northern England on Friday.

A man in his 70s died in a suspected electrocution after a tree brought down cables in Wiltshire, police said.

The Energy Networks Association, which represents energy companies, reported 80,000 customers were still without power.

Recently, areas around the River Thames to the west of London, have been inundated.

Parts of southwest England have been under water for weeks after heavy rain in February followed the wettest January in nearly 250 years.

The government, which has been criticised for reacting too slowly to the floods, has promised to spend whatever is needed on the relief effort.

But opposition Labour party members of parliament today accused the government of rehashing old announcements on funding to repair and reinforce transport infrastructure.

Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin said the question of applying for cash from the EU Solidarity Fund had been discussed at yesterday’s meeting of the government emergency committee.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the government’s view that it does not need to divert money from the foreign aid budget to help flood-hit communities has not changed.

Economic analysts at PwC and Deloitte said insurers could face a bill of around £500 million for the flood damage, with more than 5,600 homes affected since early December.

Emergency services said they had rescued more than 850 people from their homes along the Thames in Surrey, with parts of the river its highest level for more than 60 years.

The severe weather, which the army officer leading the flood recovery efforts described as “an almost unparalleled natural crisis” for Britain, has led to major travel disruption.

Motorways and bridges have been closed and many rail services cancelled.

Reuters