The Environment Agency is warning of a continued risk of localised flooding over the next few days, even though conditions are set to improve as more settled weather arrives over the UK in time to mark the start of 2013.
Large rivers that respond slowly to rainfall, including the Thames, Trent and the Severn, will continue rising through the next couple of days and high groundwater levels in southern England will continue to pose a risk to communities, particularly in Dorset.
People are urged to keep safe while they celebrate the New Year by keeping up to date with the latest flood warnings on the Environment Agency’s website or by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
The Environment Agency is also reminding people to stay away from flood water and not to drive through swollen rivers.
More than 800 Environment Agency staff have worked over the festive period to reduce the risk of flooding across England and Wales. Teams continue to work around the clock shoring up defences, clearing blockages from watercourses, monitoring river levels closely and installing temporary flood defences to protect properties from flooding including at Ironbridge, Bewdley, Shrewsbury and Oxford.
Latest flood facts - December
Latest figures show that around 540 properties have flooded since Wednesday 19th December. The Environment Agency has sent over 115,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding. Flood defences have protected more than 21,600 properties across England and Wales. The Environment Agency’s Floodline has received around 36,000 calls for help and advice with flooding in the last 11 days.
Environment Agency flood risk manager Pete Fox said:
'The recent rain has left river and groundwater levels high and people should continue to keep up to date with the latest flooding updates on our website and via our Twitter and Facebook pages.
'Over 21,000 properties have been protected from flooding this Christmas and our teams are continuing to work around the clock with local emergency services to keep communities safe. People should sign up for free flood warnings, keep up to date with the latest situation on our website, and see the New Year in safely by staying away from dangerous flood water.'
People can also check their flood risk and sign up for free flood warnings by visiting the Environment Agency’s website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.