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Rain, wind and snow to batter UK

Fri, 14 Feb 2014

FLOOD VICTIMS are bracing themselves for yet more misery as heavy rain, wind and snow is set to batter Britain.

Forecasters warn that the appalling conditions which have ravaged communities show no signs of abating, with heavy rain expected today and Saturday.

A "multi-pronged attack" of wind, rain and snow is expected to strike tomorrow, with heavy rain leading to more potential flooding as downpours of up to 40mm (1.6 inches) could fall in just six hours, with gusts of up to 70mph, a Met Office spokesman said.

Around 56,000 households remain without power after gusts of up to 108mph battered parts of the country in the "Wild Wednesday" storms, which left one man dead and hundreds stranded as transport networks were hit.

Communities in southern, south west and central England remain at risk of flooding as heavy rain is expected tomorrow and Saturday.

The Environment Agency (EA) still has 16 severe flood warnings - which mean a risk to life - in place in the Thames Valley and Somerset, as well as 128 flood warnings across England and Wales.

As well as surface water problems the rain could also impact on already full to bursting rivers while some coastal areas could be at risk as blustery conditions could bring large waves.

In the highlands of Wales, northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the rain could turn to snow, with 5cm to 10cm (2-4 inches) falling above 300 metres and perhaps as much as 20cm (8 inches) above 400 metres.

Windsor, Maidenhead and communities along the Thames in Surrey remain at high risk of flooding from the River Thames today and Friday, with significant flooding of homes and businesses expected.

The Thames has recorded some of its highest levels for 60 years, the Environment Agency said, and while water levels may fall today they are expected to rise again on the Thames and Severn, affecting places already experiencing flooding.

Flooding continues on the Somerset Levels and Moors, and there is still a high risk of coastal floods in Dorset.

In Winchester, Hampshire, Environment Agency teams have been creating a temporary flood storage area to cope with water levels on the River Itchen.

The agency has also been out across the country, ensuring blockages are removed from rivers, putting up temporary defences and supporting the deployment of sandbags by local authorities.

The Government will review flood defences after waters have receded, said Mr Clegg, promising: "I will make sure, as Deputy Prime Minister, that as we review things we do so in a way that makes lasting change, where we can make that change, where we can afford it and deliver it."

He said he backed dredging in rivers where it could make a difference, but warned that it should not be viewed as a "magic wand" solution.

The latest bad weather will compound the misery for communities who have seen rivers rise to record levels and prolonged flooding in what has been described by army chief Major General Patrick Sanders as an "almost unparalleled" natural crisis.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the chaos even threatened to derail Britain's economic recovery.

A lorry driver was taken to hospital after high winds blew over his vehicle in Bristol, while another man received treatment after becoming trapped under a fallen tree in Chivenor, Barnstaple, Devon.

Road and rail travellers endured another miserable day, with wind and rain closing major routes and wrecking train services across the UK.

Hundreds of properties remain at risk of flooding, the Environment Agency has warned, as southern England prepared for another battering by the winter storms

With the Met Office warning of more heavy rain and high winds with gusts of up to 80mph, the EA said it could be weeks for inundated communities to get back to normal.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said the Government was "very vigilant" to the danger that farms in flood areas may run short of food for livestock, and was working with the National Farmers Union and local councils to assess the scale of problems.

The spokesman indicated that the UK is likely to be applying for assistance from the EU's solidarity fund for member states hit by natural disasters.

By Press Association reporters