- Flood warnings for south-east and south-west of England
- Strong winds and debris blocking drains raise fears of surface water flooding
- Exeter Airport deluged by almost half monthly average of rain in eight hours
- Met Office predict up to 2.5inches of rain will fall tomorrow
- Police tweet warnings to motorists saying roads are ‘like rivers’
- Commuters hit delays on the trains due to flooding
Homes and roads were left underwater today as heavy downpours caused widespread disruption across Britain.
Vehicles were abandoned and there were reports of entire villages being cut off as flood water surged through lanes and streets and into homes.
In some cases, more than two inches of rain fell overnight, with heavy clouds clearing for brighter spells this afternoon in much of the worst-hit areas such as Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
But forecasters warned it was only a temporary reprieve, and predicted parts of England and Wales should brace for a month’s worth of rain in just two days and gale force winds on Thursday.
Scroll down for video
Today, emergency services were on red alert after the heavy rain. In Bishop Sutton, Avon, they helped rescue a woman who had gone into labour from her flooded home.
Fire crews in the county received more than 130 flood-related calls during a seven-hour period, with 20 people either rescued from flooded homes or vehicles.
There were a further 300 calls for help in Devon and Somerset, the counties’ joint fire service said. This included a call to assist two people attempting to rescue stranded cattle.
It prompted emergency services to issue warnings to motorists to take extra care on the roads. Devon and Cornwall Police said there had been a number of reports of standing water on roads, creating a risk of drivers aquaplaning and potentially losing control of their vehicles.
A spokesman said: ‘There are significant incidents of standing water being reported on the roads, and so we need drivers to take extra care and adjust their braking times accordingly.
‘Drivers need to match their speed with the conditions.’
At least 60 people in total were rescued from floodwater in the South-West. Dorset firefighters rescued around 20 people, including a woman and three children from a car stuck in floods off the A37 between Dorchester and Yeovil, and a couple and two dogs from another vehicles which had attempted to drive through floodwater.
Dorset Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Emily Cheeseman said: ‘Flood water was up to 4ft deep.’
Dozens of schools were closed and businesses including pubs and restaurants forced to turn away customers following the floods.
The Environment Agency put more than 200 flood warnings and alerts in place today, mostly in the south west of England and the Midlands.
Fire crews reported attending scores of weather-related incidents across the south west of England, while some roads were under several inches of water causing motorists to abandon their vehicles.
Bob Wilderspin, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: ‘The current unsettled spell of weather is set to continue with further spells of heavy rain expected across the country over the next few days.
‘A particularly squally day is expected on Thursday as strong to gale force winds combine with heavy rain moving in from the west.
‘With winds gusting up to 60 to 70mph in places and 20 to 50mm of rain falling in a short period of time we urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings and be prepared for what the weather will bring.’
Easy does it: A 4×4 makes light work of deep flood water in Norton near Worcester, left, while right, a police car edges through floodwater in Coates, Gloucestershire on Wednesday
Flooding to property is not predicted anywhere in the South East, but officials said they were monitoring the situation ‘very closely’ as further rainfall is forecast later this week.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: ‘The rain will clear this afternoon. The next band of rain is expected late on Thursday and into Friday, but at present totals do not look too serious for the South East.
‘There also looks to be another band of rainfall on Sunday. Our teams have been out across the South East to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels.’
Up to 50mm of rain hit Dartmoor overnight, while Exeter airport in Devon received 39.2mm – almost half the monthly average – in just eight hours.
Sandbags have been placed at entrances to homes in an effort to avoid a repeat of the damage caused last month when severe downpours caused havoc for residents across the country.
Devon and Cornwall Police said there had been a number of reports of standing water on roads, creating a risk of drivers aquaplaning and potentially losing control of their vehicles.
The Devon and Somerset Fire Service said there were managing 30 incidents of flooding around the county. Main A roads were blocked between Exmouth and Exeter; Cullompton and Exeter; Honiton and Exeter; and Crediton and Exeter.
Local people said it was the worst flooding they had witnessed in up to 20 years.
Other police staff took to social networking sites to issue safety advice. Community support officer Sarah Giles, from the Topsham area of Exeter, wrote on her Twitter page: ‘Honestly guys, roads have become rivers lots of surface water some quite deep. Slow down, it’s safer, and it’s considerate.’
Underwater: The flooding in Bristol and other parts of the west coast right up to Scotland is set to get worse after forecasters predict a month’s worth of rain over just two days.
In Dorset, police responded to the deluge by telling followers on the constabulary’s page: ‘Don’t take chances on the roads in this wet weather – leave extra time to get to your destination and drive safely.’
Stranded motorists had to be rescued from their cars today/yesterday (Wed) after torrential rain storms caused severe flooding across the south of England. Firefighters were called out to save stricken drivers who were caught up in floodwater as heavy rain caused major problems. In DORSET fire crews had to rescue seven drivers and their passengers, as forecasters recorded winds of 40mph at the Hurn weather station, near Bournemouth. Crews from Yeovil and Sherborne were called out to Netherton Lane, off the A37 at Netherton when a mother with her three children became trapped in their car in flood water. Firefighters pushed the car to safety before ensuring that the woman was able to reach roadside assistance for vehicle recovery. They also had to push a car and its male driver out of deep water at Muckleford, close to the A37 at Grimstone, and freed a van driver after his vehicle broke down in water 2ft deep at Bagber near Sturminster Newton. Another van driver had to be rescued at Boys Hill, Holnest. A fire brigade spokesman said: “A van, with one male inside, was stuck in flood water approximately 4ft deep. “Wading teams used an inflatable boat to rescue the motorist.”
There was also a trapped vehicle reported at Thorncombe, near Beaminster, and a camper van became stuck at Whitechurch Canonicorum. “Further incidents in the north and west of the county are continuing to come in,” said the spokesman. “Please remind members of the public not to enter standing flood water in their vehicles, especially if they do not know how deep it is, please take a different route. “All vehicles should have their lights on and occupants should ensure mobile phones are fully charged in case they get into difficulty. “This severe weather is set to continue for the next few days.”
Twelve schools in Devon were closed and 17 in Somerset, two of the worst-hit counties. One school in east Devon, Sidbury primary school, had to evacuate because of a flood warning on the River Sid which meant people had to move to high ground.
Residents were out early with shovels trying to unblock drains covered in fallen leaves.
One in Exeter said: ‘Thankfully the rain started to ease off as it got lighter. But we have had so much rain and it is landing on totally saturated land. The water has no where to go. And there is more forecast.’
Brolly bad weather: A man, left, huddles under a tiny umbrella in Bradford on Wednesday, while right, a woman makes a phone call from a high vantage point on Whiteladies Road in Bristol, as flood water laps beneath her
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said crews had been pumping flooded homes. The villages of Yealmpton and Tamerton Foliot have been described by residents as ‘impassable’.
Resident Nora Tisdall said her daughter, a teacher, was unable to travel to work as the main road had been closed.
She said: ‘The stream is pouring out over the road like a waterfall. The village is totally impassable.
My daughter cannot get out to travel to work and I’m worried that if she tries another way she might get stuck.
‘I’ve lived here 21 years and I’ve never seen it flood.’
Meanwhile, commuters were hit by delays of up to one hour on First Great Western rail services between Exeter St Davids and Bristol Temple Meads, and between Exeter St Davids and Westbury, due to flooding at Tiverton Parkway station.
Strong winds are also forecast for later in the week, raising fears of surface water flooding as wind-blown leaves and debris could block drains.
The Environment Agency last night had five flood warnings in place in the south west, for areas on the rivers Axe, Dart, Parrett and Char, and 34 less serious flood alerts in the region and elsewhere in England.
Teams from the government agency have been mobilised to check on flood defences, clear river blockages and monitor water levels, with fears of flooding in counties including Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.
A band of heavy rain will fall in the south west and southern Wales today, with more than 1.5 inches falling in the worst hit areas.
Another deluge is expected on Thursday with up to 2.5 inches of water falling in the same region.
The Met Office said it had weather warnings out for south west England and south east Wales, as well as western Scotland, over the next few days.
A spokesman said: ‘We are looking at 0.6 to 1.2 inches quite widely across the south west and south east Wales area and up to 1.6 inches in the worst-hit areas.
‘There’s pretty saturated ground following the rain around today, so there’s the possibility of seeing some localised flooding.’
He added there was a weather warning for Thursday for the south-western, southern Wales, and central England, with a downpours depositing up to 2.5 inches.
Forecasters also warned of strong gusts of up to 50-60mph.
The flood warnings for the south of the UK came after more than 200 families were forced to evacuate their homes as serious flooding caused chaos.
Around 100 properties became engulfed in several feet of water as swollen rivers across much of the Central Belt of Scotland burst their banks.
Emergency services were stretched to the limit as overnight torrential downpours sparked by transatlantic storms wreaked havoc, severely disrupting transport links.
In some areas, more than a quarter of the normal monthly rainfall fell in a few hours, and last night there appeared to be no respite in sight as weather experts warned the deluge was likely to continue.
The floods which hit the Perthshire communities of Comrie, Dunblane, Aberfoyle and Callander came just weeks after dozens of local residents were forced to flee their homes.
Many householders had only just been given the go-ahead by insurers to repair previous damage when the weekend’s flood arrived.
Hours of heavy rainfall began to take its toll when the River Ruchill, a tributary of the River Earn, burst its banks near Dalginross.
A 70-strong army of firefighters and ten appliances were sent by Tayside Fire and Rescue Service along with a rescue boat to evacuate people and pump water away from homes.
Another seven specialist appliances, including a heavy rescue unit, later joined in the rescue. Water rescue specialists were dispatched from Perth and Dundee fire stations, and from Grampian Fire and Rescue Service.
The flooding quickly extended across most of Comrie, where nearby roads were closed by police and a cordon put up as the River Ruchill, Gaelic for ‘red flood’, lived up to its name.
A special operations response team was sent to the scene from Edinburgh. Tayside Police also helped coordinate the rescue operation, with an extra 1,000 sandbags distributed to add to the 2,000 already in use in Comrie.
An emergency rest centre was set up to try and help those affected by the downpours.
Video: Torrential rain causes travel chaos on the roads and railways
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235946/UK-weather-Britain-flood-alert-forecasters-predict-months-rainfall-just-days.html#ixzz2CsO0vr9w Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
- UK weather: Britain on flood alert as forecasters predict a month’s rainfall in just two days (dailymail.co.uk)