The risk of floods from recent downpours will continue into 2013, the Environment Agency warns.
A white Christmas has become a very wet Christmas for millions of people trying to travel home for the holidays as continued heavy rain disrupts journeys.
Phil Rothwell, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, told Channel 4 News that though there is hope of “a respite”, the risk will be present over “the coming days and coming weeks”.
“The weather seems to be getting slightly better, but only slightly. It’s still unsettled, there’s still rain falling in some areas, and rivers are very high so they respond very quickly and over the coming days and coming weeks we think, if the pattern continues, then there will be a continuing flood risk into early next year.”
Among transport firms worst affected by the flooding are CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, First Great Western (FGW) and First TransPennine Express. No trains are running between Bristol Parkway and Swindon, while services between Paddington in London and Swansea are being diverted, with journey times extended up to 45 minutes.
Services unable to run between Exeter St Davids and Tiverton Parkway and the Cornish route between Looe and Liskeard. On both routes services were not expected to operate until Friday at the earliest. FGW said poor road conditions meant that buses would not be able to travel and advised passengers to stay at home.
Passengers also face reduced services on some rail lines due to planned engineering work, including disruption on the west coast line run by Virgin trains.
Christmas forecastAn amber warning is in place in the south west with more localised flooding likely. Rain will clear east from England and Wales but will remain mostly cloudy with more showers moving in from the west. Showers will move into Scotland. In Northern Ireland the outlook is brighter. Tonight, rain will persist in southern and south-eastern parts of the UK. There will be more showers in Wales, north west England and in western areas of Northern Ireland, mostly scattered rain with some clear spells. It will stay mostly dry in Scotland with a few showers in western areas.
Last minute Christmas shopping in the rain
In the Glazebrook area of north west England, a landslip has caused disruption. Buses were replacing trains between Warrington Central and Manchester Oxford Road and also between Newton-le-Willows and Warrington Central/Birchwood.
First TransPennine Express services between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly were diverted via Newton-le-Willows and were not calling at Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington Central or Birchwood.
East Midlands Trains services to and from Liverpool Lime Street started and terminated at Manchester Oxford Road. The affected line was not expected to reopen until Friday. Numerous roads were flooded, many in areas which are under water only a few weeks ago.
Worcestershire is one of the worst-hit counties. Among roads closed due to the floods are those in Worcester, Bromsgrove and Evesham. In Devon, motorists in Newton Abbot had to contend with a landslip, while the A377 was affected by flooding. Other areas where roads were flooded included Kelham and Shelford in Nottinghamshire and Ufton Nervet in Berkshire.