Published on 25 Nov 2012 Sections ,

Flood alerts in place as storm batters Britain

Two people are killed and over 800 homes are flooded as heavy rain and gusts of wind continue to hit parts of the UK.

A 21-year-old woman was killed when a tree fell on the tent she was thought to be living in, late on Saturday night. She was brought to hospital by emergency workers and died shortly after. Two others were seriously injured in the accident in Exeter.

In Earith, Cambridgeshire, a 70-year-old man also died after his car plunged into the River Ouse.

Over 200 flood warnings remain in place and over 250 flood alerts, where flooding is possible, most of which are in the South West and the Midlands. The Environment Agency said that 816 homes had been flooded and said those in high risk areas should be prepared for flooding after heavy rain on Sunday night.

In Cornwall, hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes overnight, after flood water and torrential rain caused “serious threats to life”. Special rest centres were set up in the worst-hit villages over night.

The extreme weather is expected to continue in some places throughout Sunday, with Cornwall expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

The Met Office has issued a severe ‘yellow’ warning in ten regions throughout England, and have warned of travel disruption and further flooding.

Another 10 to 15mm of rain is expected to fall in Wales and the South West throughout the afternoon and into the evening. However heavy rain is also expected to move across from north Wales into Lancashire and through to north Yorkshire, said the Met Office.

“People in these areas need to be aware that you could end up with anything of up to 40 to 55mm, and we could see up to 70 mm of rain in some parts of north Yorkshire later in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers told Channel 4 News.

‘Common sense’

As the bad weather continues, one emergency worker appealed to members of the public to stop endangering their and rescue workers’ lives, and not to take to the road. “We were called out to several incidents where cars have tried to pass through flooded roads, fords, and small rivers and got stuck,” said Nathan Hudson, general manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).

A little bit of common sense from the public will ensure that no one’s life is put in any unnecessary danger. Nathan Hudson, WMAS

“The net effect is that the occupants have become trapped in their vehicles and the emergency services have had to risk difficult and often dangerous conditions in the middle of the night to come and rescue them. It is quite simple: driving through flood water is inherently dangerous.”

He said rescue workers had been called out to deal with a “remarkable number of 4x4s” and pointed out that the vehicles are not immune to flood water. “A little bit of common sense from the public will ensure that no one’s life is put in any unnecessary danger,” Mr Hudson added.

In pictures: Britain under water

Travel disruption

Roads have been closed across the South West as motorways became impossible to pass because of rain and debris.

Paul Mustow, head of flood incident management at the Met Office advised people to sign up to free flood warnings and to stay well away from dangerous flood water.

Emergency services, rescue crews and EA bosses worked throughout the night to help stricken communities and spread messages of safety to people following four days of uninterrupted rainfall.

National Rail said the severe weather had caused a number of disruptions to services across the region. Trains were cancelled between Exeter St Davids and Yeovil Junction because of a landslip at Honiton and flooding near Axminster in Devon, and replacement buses were cancelled because of severe flooding on local roads.

Passengers are advised to check whether trains and buses are running before setting off on their journey.

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