independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Video: Heavy rain continues to wreak havoc across the UK

THOUSANDS of drivers and residents face further chaos today after heavy rain continued to fall across the UK overnight, adding to the flooding crisis.

The Environment Agency has 198 flood alerts and 276 flood warnings in place in England and Wales, as persistent rain hit already saturated areas increasing the risk of river flooding.

But forecasters say the wind and rain will finally begin to ease today and instead freezing temperatures will take hold of the UK.

Three people have died in the flooding and around 900 homes have been evacuated because of the stormy weather, which has caused delays for train passengers and drivers.

North-west England and Wales again felt the worst of the weather last night, where winds reached up to 55mph.

Sleet fell over the Pennines with snow predicted in the Scottish mountains today.

Gemma Plumb, a spokeswoman for MeteoGroup, said: "Although the rain was lighter last night than previous days, the rain fell on already saturated surfaces adding to the risk of flooding.

"It will become increasingly drier in most places as we go through today, with just East Anglia and south east England holding on to the rain.

"By the end of the day most of the rain would have lifted but temperatures will feel noticeably colder this week, dropping to freezing overnight."

She added that the drier weather is unlikely to mark the end of the heavy rain, with early hints that more will return at the beginning of next week after a short respite for the battered UK.

Last night the EA remained particularly concerned about the River Thames, Trent and the Severn, as well as about the Northamptonshire area.

The continued flooding risk comes after claims yesterday that hundreds of thousands of homes may be left without flood cover due to a row between ministers and the insurance industry over how future flooding bills would be covered.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) had claimed that talks about a "safety net" deal to ensure those in flood-risk areas can continue to afford their policies were at "crisis point".

Last night Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said talks were ongoing - and that ministers were committed to securing a good deal for both householders and the taxpayer.

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