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Thousands of travellers hit by flooding

Rescue team pulling man in raftRail and road travel have been disrupted yet again due to storms moving across north east England and north Wales, bringing heavy rain and flooding. Some national rail services have been delayed and cancelled, while dozens of A-roads have been closed with safety warnings in effect for others, causing delays. England and Wales have 282 flood alerts and 184 flood warnings in effect from the Environment Agency.

The two areas expected to suffer the most from heavy rain yesterday were north east England, north Wales, and Yorkshire and Humber regions. Amber weather warnings were issued by the Met Office for all three of these areas, and the warnings were in effect until midnight.

As for travel, south west England was still suffering a lot of rail disruption yesterday after heavy rain and winds hit the UK some of last week and through the weekend. Flooding caused delays on routes between Derby and Nottingham/Loughborough; Bangor and Holyhead; Durham and York; and Shrewsbury and Craven Arms. Services were also disrupted between London and Horsham due to a landslip close to Dorking. By 2pm Monday, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said 20% of trains didn’t arrive on time due to the weather.

Road travel was also dreary and impossible in some areas. Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were hit the hardest. Rescue efforts by fire crews have even been hampered across the country as well due to flooded roads.

At the weekend, around 800 homes were flooded, and most of these were in south west England. Cornwall and Devon were hit pretty hard. In Kempsey and Malmesbury, a new £1.5 million flood defence scheme collapsed following an electrical issue.  In some cases, people have been trapped in their homes and vehicles, while some have died in the floodwaters.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has urged people to stay up-to-date with flood alerts and warnings so tragedies can be avoided. While visiting Exeter, he said it’s hard to focus on one flood defence failure when several others have worked over the last few days. These will continue working as the rain comes in the next few days as well. However, he asks everyone to work together, with the Environment Agency, so they can be warned. He’s concerned that some of the tragedies they have had already could have been prevented if the people involved had stayed updated with the information being issued.

Later, Paterson said the Environment Agency would conduct a detailed investigation into what happened in Kempsey. There is continued risk of more flooding in some of north east England and north Wales following rain saturating the land on Monday. More homes may be evacuated considering the forecast for the night. Emergency services will move into the recovery phase as the floodwaters recede, and local authorities will be eligible for financial assistance. He then assured that the agency and local emergency partners are working around the clock to do everything they can to avoid flooding in the current risk areas.

In a Tweet, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the flooding in Cornwall and around the country has been shocking. The government will help ensure everything is done to help.

MeteoGroup forecaster Tom Tobler said that rain could cause more damage in areas that have already been flooded. Another low pressure system is rolling in from the south west, bringing heavy rain. Due to the amount of rain these areas have already gotten, the situation will only be made worse.

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