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Rain causes flooding, road travel disruption in south west

Flood warning signThe Environment Agency issued several flood warnings for south west England earlier this week because of heavy rain.  Due to flooding, some roads were labelled impassable, while stranded motorists had to abandon their vehicles.  There were about 50 flood warnings in affect for just the south west at one point.  There were also less serious floods in other areas, which were marked with flood alerts.  Flood warnings and alerts were issued for the Midlands and up to west Scotland as well.

On Wednesday, Devon and Cornwall Police said they had received several reports of standing water on roads.  This created a risk that motorists would aquaplane and potentially lose control of their cars.  The AA had attended over 8,000 breakdowns across the country by 4pm, which is 37% more than usual.  499 of these were related to the flooding.

Heavy rain also hit parts of southern and central England, as well as south east Wales, during the week.  On top of this, other parts of the country were battered with strong winds.  Authorities were concerned that it could increase the risk of surface water flooding due to leaves and debris being blown around by the wind and blocking drains.  While Scotland got hit with wind and rain yesterday, it was hit earlier in the week as well.  Flooding forced over 100 residents to evacuate their homes, while transport links were severed.

Dartmoor, Devon got the most rainfall over Tuesday night, with 33mm of rain in 12 hours.  Forecasters said that residents would get a break but that more downpours would be likely through the end of the week.  They issued a warning for yesterday against a band of rain crossing south west England and south east Wales, bringing 20mm to 55mm of rain.  The worst hit areas were expected to get as much as 60mm, while winds were expected to gust up to 60mph.  West Scotland was also warned about heavy rain and strong winds on Thursday, including possible flooding.  Today has been forecast to have a mix of sun and showers.  However, more heavy rain will rise from the south through Sunday.

Met Office chief forecaster Bob Wilderspin said on Wednesday that the unsettled weather will continue, bringing more heavy rain throughout the country over the next few days.  Thursday was expected to be particularly turbulent, with strong to gale force winds and heavy rain travelling from the west.  With 20mm to 50mm of rainfall in a short period of time and winds gusting between 60mph and 70mph, they urge everyone to stay updated with forecasts and warnings, as well as be ready for what the weather could bring.

The UK has certainly had its fair share of rain this year, a dreary bout that started in the summer.  May through August was especially bad, with a single month of rain falling in less a day.  The current situation is very similar, with an entire month’s worth of rain falling over a period of just two days.  Transport has been disrupted – from roads, to flights, to trains – and if this amount of rain falls during the winter, there will be more disruption due to snow and ice.  This could be worse in some cases.

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