Heavy storms have already left a trail of devastation, but the flooding looks set to worsen, with rivers threatening to overflow and England’s south and west coasts at risk.
Hundreds of homes have been flooded, and roads and fields have been left under water, as storms battered Britain’s coastline in recent days. But the heavy rain is expected to continue across parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a storm surge forecast in Scotland’s Firth of Forth river on Saturday. Winds will not be as strong as previous days, but snow is forecast in the north east of Scotland.
The search for 18-year-old, Harry Martin, who was last seen on Thursday on the Devon coast and is believed to have been taking photos of the weather, also continued on Saturday. But one man was pulled from the sea in Cornwall by police officers early on Saturday morning after ignoring warnings about the fierce storms.
Four severe flood warnings were in place on Saturday morning, signifying life-threatening risk in Gloucestershire and Dorset, but these were later withdrawn by the Environment Agency (EA). A further 103 flood warnings and 260 flood alerts were in place across the UK on Saturday afternoon.
The EA predicts that the west and south coast of England in particular is at risk of flooding, as well as the Severn estuary. Rivers are also likely to rise in response to the rainfall in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, while further wet and windy conditions forecast over the weekend could create more problems in already saturated areas.
However the Met Office has said that the weather is expected to improve next week.
Jonathan Day, flood risk manager at the EA, said: “The risk of flooding to the coast will continue over the next few days, especially on the south and west coast and along the Severn estuary. In addition, wet conditions have left the ground saturated in many areas, increasing the risk of river and surface water flooding.
“We would urge people to be prepared by checking their flood risk, signing up to free flood warnings and keeping an eye on the latest flood updates via the EA website and Twitter.”
Picture: a flood sign stands beside a petrol station close to the River Severn at Upton upon Severn
In Wales, all the severe flood warnings for coastal areas have been lifted with only two flood warnings remaining. Natural Resources Wales said the storm was the worst to have affected the south and west Wales coastline in 15 years.
People across the UK, from Devon to Cumbria and Sussex, have protected their homes with sand bags and flood gates as the waters rose around them. In London the Thames Barrier was closed at 1am on Saturday morning as a precaution to protect the capital against flooding, said the Environment Agency (EA).
The severe weather has caused some travel disruption at the Port of Dover. But the Highways Agency said that the M48 Severn Crossing has been re-opened in both directions.
Picture: a wave breaks over the seafront at dawn in West Bay, Dorset
Met Office: For the latest information about how different parts of the country are affected, go to: www.metoffice.gov.uk
Flooding: The Environment Agency is regularly updating flood warnings and alerts for England and Wales www.environment-agency.gov.uk
Trains: To check whether your travel has been disrupted due to the weather, go to: www.nationalrail.co.uk
Roads: Flooding and tidal surges have affected coastal roads in some areas: http://www.highways.gov.uk
Have you been affected by the storm? Upload your picture to the weather gallery here.
The storms continued on Friday night and residents in Chiswell and Portland in Weymouth, Dorset were evacuated ahead of a storm surge. Around 100 people living in Aberystwyth, west Wales, were also advised to move to higher ground, with many taking shelter in rest centres.
Two people have already died in the storms. A 27-year-old man from Surrey was found on Porthleven Sands beach in Cornwall after he was swept out to sea on New Year’s Eve night, and a woman died after being rescued from the sea in Croyde Bay, north Devon.
The ferocious weather has left widespread damage. In Aberystwyth, debris was strewn across the seaside promenade and rail lines in north Wales were left buckled by the power of the sea. A road collapsed in Amroth, Pembrokeshire, also in Wales.
Photo: waves crash against the coastal wall in the village of Carnlough, Northern Ireland as high tides and strong winds cause some flooding in coastal areas.
Temps close to freezing for most tonight. With lots of moisture in the ground, ICE will be a hazard into tomorrow morning. #c4news
— Liam Dutton (@liamdutton) January 4, 2014
— MetDesk (@metdesk) January 4, 2014
— Liam Dutton (@liamdutton) January 4, 2014