UK braced for more floods

Southern and Central England and Wales were preparing for the worst today, Friday, as the Met Office issued severe weather warnings covering huge swathes of the country.

As weather experts predicted a high risk of extremely heavy rain, thunder and lightning, the northern floods of June were still fresh in the memories of those battening down the hatches in more southerly counties.

In central and eastern areas the Met Office was warning that up to 100mm of rain could fall during Friday, while the south west and Wales could expect about half that.

Such significant amounts of rain could cause dangerous driving conditions at the start of the first major getaway of the summer holidays.

The Met Office said it was working closely with the Highways Agency and Environment Agency to help warn motorists and residents about the potential for flooding.

Keith Groves, head of forecasting at the Met Office, said: “We are talking about a major rainfall event. When you get such heavy rainfall in such a short time then there is a greater risk of flooding.

“Areas such as Birmingham, the M5/M4 corridor and the Cotswolds are at the greatest risk of the most rain, but anywhere in England and Wales could see torrential downpours at some stage tomorrow and people should keep an eye on our forecasts.”

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: “The warning comes as many schools across England break up for the summer holidays. Rain and spray can reduce visibility and more than double the distance it takes to stop.

“Drivers are advised to use headlights and keep well back from the vehicle in front. Drivers are also advised to check the Met Office weather forecast and their routes for delays before they travel, and to listen for bulletins on the radio whilst they are on the road.”

Phil Rothwell, Environment Agency head of flood risk policy, said: “Flash flooding in recent days and weeks has been very sudden and has often occurred in areas where there were previously few flooding incidents in living memory. Therefore, everyone should stay fully aware of the weather situation. Where there is the danger of rivers rising people should check for flood warnings in their area.”

Sam Bond

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