Britain issues 13 flood warnings amid high wind and heavy rain
Published 14/12/2012 | 09:36
BRITAIN is on flood alert this morning as high winds and heavy rainfall begin to sweep in from the South West.
The Environment Agency has warned residents - many still mopping up after last month's widespread flooding - to brace themselves for a combination of heavy rain and storm surges.
Thirteen flood warnings have been issued across the South West and Wales, while a further 47 areas across Scotland, England and Wales have been told to prepare for possible flooding.
Wales will be among the worst hit areas today.
The Environment Agency has also issued a flood alert near Swansea and Port Talbot.
The ground in parts of south and west Wales remains saturated from last month's heavy rainfall, the agency said.
Between 20mm and 30mm of rain is expected to fall over the next 24 hours in the South West and Wales.
High winds of up to 60mph will affect much of the UK, reaching up to 70mph in north-east Scotland.
Heavy rain has already started to fall across the South West, which will bear the brunt of the severe weather
Gareth Harvey, a meteorologist for MeteoGroup, said: "A band of heavy rain is going to move through the South West of England, with much of the UK affected by it.
"It will sweep north-eastwards throughout the day and cause localised flooding in some areas which will get up to 30mm of rain in 24 hours.
"It will be a very wet and windy day before it starts to clear."
The public have been advised to stay away from seafronts, quaysides and jetties along the south coast to avoid powerful waves.
The agency said there is a risk of flooding in south and west Wales, where ground remains saturated from previous rainfall.
Nick Roseveare, of the Environment Agency, said: "We are keeping a close eye on conditions around our coastline and will issue flood warnings if the risk of flooding increases.
"The critical periods will be the early morning tides over the next three days.
"If they coincide with rain, there's a risk of tide-locking, where water is held in rain-swollen rivers and cannot escape into the sea because of the high tides. This could result in localised flooding."
Those in areas of risk have been urged by the Environment Agency to check their website and Twitter feed for the latest updates, or to call the floodline on 0845 988 1188.
In West Yorkshire this morning, road users were warned to take extra care after a high number of collisions caused by vehicles skidding on black ice.
The weather conditions were causing disruption on the county's motorway network, including the closure of sections of the M1 and A1.
Areas affected by collisions included both the north and southbound carriageways of the M1 and A1 at various locations, the east and westbound carriageways of the M62 in a number of places and the M606 motorway near Bradford.
The southbound carriageway of the M1 was closed near junction 41 and the A1 southbound was closed near to junction 45.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the force was asking people to take "extreme care" when travelling to work.
He said: "West Yorkshire Police has received an exceptionally high amount of road traffic collisions throughout the early hours of the day, mainly on each of the major motorway networks due to vehicles skidding on black ice. Collisions are still being reported."
The spokesman continued: "So far we have had no reports of serious injuries but numerous reports of road traffic collisions."
He added: "Emergency services are still dealing with many of these incidents and are working hard to clear the carriageways."