The Met Office believes this January could be one of the wettest on record after 81.6mm of precipitation fell in England and Wales between January 6 and 15.

Eastern areas of Scotland and central areas of England have also seen double the amount of rainfall expected between January 1 and 17.

Forecasters warned that up to 100mm of rainfall was expected in exposed upland areas of Wales, south west England and the Lake District on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday afternoon the Environment Agency had 42 flood warnings in place, and a further 91 areas on flood watch.

Met Office operations director Keith Groves said: “The weather over the next three days is certainly causing concern.

“Our main focus is Friday and Saturday but heavy rain could continue into Sunday and it is this cumulative effect that is causing the current problems.”

A Met Office spokeswoman said the heavy rain and mild weather seen across Europe this winter suggested climate change was having an impact on weather patterns.

Gales battered parts of the UK earlier in the week, and floodwaters returned to many areas hit in the summer floods, including parts of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

Research published this week by GroundSure, one of the leading providers of environmental risk screening reports, said almost 2.2m homes and small businesses in the UK are located in areas considered at risk of flooding.

It showed that London has the greatest risk of flooding, with 11.7% of homes and businesses at risk, while the west had the lowest percentage with just 6.1%.

Paul Livett, managing director of GroundSure, said: “To say that one in ten properties in the UK are at risk of flooding is a shocking figure to quote. Weather-related damage is increasingly becoming an issue in the UK.”

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie