Britain faces festive washout as severe flooding forecast
Published 24/12/2012 | 05:00
British families 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 Britain were lashed by high winds and rain over the weekend, causing widespread flooding.
The south-west of England, Wales and north-east 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 yesterday, residents will be watching nervously as more rain is predicted throughout today.
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.
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 last night 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 in place for the River Cober at Helston in west Cornwall.
There are currently 160 flood warnings across the UK and 286 flood alerts.
Flooding minister, Richard Benyon, said: "I would like to thank the Environment Agency and the emergency services who are working tirelessly on the ground, keeping a close watch on river levels, checking defences and clearing anything that could cause a blockage.
"It's crucial people continue to be vigilant by keeping a close eye on the Environment Agency's flood warnings."