Communities across the country are being urged to prepare for possibility of further flooding.
The Met Office is forecasting heavy rain overnight tonight (28 December) into Saturday morning. This rain will arrive from the west, bringing a significant risk of flooding to northern Wales and northwest England. Further heavy rain is then forecast for Sunday into Monday morning.
This rain will fall on ground which is already very wet. River and ground water levels remain high. As a result, the Environment Agency is working with local authorities and emergency services to prepare for possible flooding from rivers, groundwater and surface water across the country over the weekend.
Key areas of concern
- North Wales and northwest England, including Cumbria, which will be hit by a band of heavy rain in the early hours of Saturday morning.
- The South West, where water levels remain high following flooding over the last week. The Environment Agency is monitoring water levels on the Somerset Levels, which continue to rise.
- Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex and North Yorkshire, where groundwater levels have risen, resulting in water seeping from the ground and flooding properties.
- Areas on the lower reaches of longer rivers such as the Thames, Severn, Nene and Trent, which continue to respond to recent rainfall.
People are urged to keep up-to-date with the latest flood warnings on the Environment Agency’s website or by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
Stay away from flood water
Anyone driving home following the Christmas break should plan ahead and check their route before travelling.
The Environment Agency is also reminding people to stay away from flood water. Just two feet of water is enough to float a car and six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet. Flood water also contains hidden dangers such as open manhole covers and raw sewage.
More than 800 Environment Agency staff have worked over Christmas to reduce the risk of flooding. Teams continue to work around the clock and are monitoring river levels closely. Temporary flood defences are in place to protect properties from flooding in Ironbridge, Bewdley, Shrewsbury and Oxford. Mobile pumping equipment is in place in Purley, Devon, Humberside and on the Derwent.
Environment Agency teams are out on the ground in preparation for further rain. These teams are shoring up defences, clearing blockages from watercourses and pumping out flood water.
The Thames Barrier was closed against two high tides yesterday (27th December) to keep the incoming tide out of the London stretch of the Thames and reduce the risk of flooding from high river levels further upstream. The Jubilee River is being used to protect properties in Windsor and Maidenhead. The scheme protected 3,300 properties in the area.
Latest figures show that around 520 properties have flooded since Wednesday 19th December. The Environment Agency has sent over 108,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding. Flood defences have protected more than 21,000 properties across England and Wales, including 4,000 properties in Cornwall. The Environment Agency’s Floodline has received around 28,000 calls for help and advice with flooding in the last nine days.
Remain vigilant to flooding
Pete Fox, Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: 'Flooding is devastating at any time of year, but particularly at Christmas. Our thoughts are with all those who have flooded over the last week across the country. Unfortunately, more heavy rain is forecast for this weekend. As a result, we’re urging people, particularly those in north Wales and western England, to remain vigilant to flooding.
'We’re working around the clock to continue to protect homes and businesses from flooding and there are also things that people can do to protect themselves and their properties. If you’re driving home this weekend, give yourself extra time to make your journey, check your route before travelling and avoid driving through flood water. Check the risk of flooding for your property and, if you’re at risk, move valuable items to safety.
Andy Page, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office said: 'A particularly deep area of low pressure will bring another spell of wet and windy weather across the UK later on Friday and into Saturday. The heaviest and most persistent rain is expected over higher ground on the western side of England and Wales. Here as much as 40 to 50 mm rain may fall over parts of northwest England and Wales. Over southwest England accumulations of 20 to 30 mm are possible.
'We have issued severe weather warnings for the heavy rain and strong to gale force winds and will be monitoring the situation to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest picture through our forecasts and warnings. By thinking ahead the public can be more weather aware and better prepared for severe weather.