Heavy wind and rain bring chaos to large parts of the country for a second day running, leaving hundreds of drivers stranded and more than 100 homes evacuated.

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Many roads were left unpassable as homeowners were again forced to protect their properties as water deluged swathes of the country. The South West, Midlands and west of England were the worst affected areas as heavy downpours led to flash flooding.

The south west, Midlands and west of England were the worst affected areas as heavy downpours led to flash flooding. The AA had its busiest day for flood-related call-outs in history on Wednesday and commuters again suffered major disruption.

People were evacuated from Billing Aquadrome campsite in Northamptonshire following flood warnings from the nearby River Nene.

The AA expects to attend up to 13,000 for the day, compared with around 9,500 on an average Thursday. Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said: "With the ground so saturated, flash flooding was a real issue yesterday with many people getting stuck.

"Drivers really need to be careful and be prepared for sudden road closures. We also see some drivers plough into flood water, somewhat oblivious to the risks. Unfortunately, the air intake on modern cars is often quite low and it takes just a tiny amount of water entering it to wreck the engine.

"Stay out of floodwater where possible, certainly if it's moving or more than four inches deep," he said.

Areas at risk

More wet weather is forecast across the country on Saturday and Sunday, with the possibility of further significant disruption as a result of flooding.

The majority of areas at risk are in south west England and the Midlands, and the Environment Agency urged people in affected areas, including Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Torbay, Plymouth, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to keep up to date with the latest warnings.

There were delays of up to 90 minutes between Swindon and Bristol Parkway after trains were diverted due to flooding. Some services from London Paddington to South West stations were cancelled while flooding caused disruption in Totnes, Tiverton Parkway, Weston-super-Mare and Westbury.
CrossCountry trains cancelled its service between Plymouth and Bristol.

Replacement buses were being run between Bristol Temple Meads and Taunton via Weston-super-Mare.

Network Rail advised commuters to follow transport updates on Twitter under the hashtag #ukrain. Minor delays were being experienced on cross-Channel ferry crossings from the Port of Dover in Kent. Winds gusting to Force six were affecting services with P&O Ferries, DFDS/LD Lines and MyFerryLink to Calais, and DFDS Seaways to Dunkirk.

A decision to allow a ship to set sail across the English Channel in high winds with hundreds of live sheep on board was condemned as "barbaric" by the RSPCA.

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