Heavy rain and flooding with major incident in Nottinghamshire

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By James Gregory & Michael Sheils McNamee
BBC News

Parts of the UK are experiencing another day of disruptive weather, with heavy rain and hundreds of flood alerts and warnings in place.

A Met Office yellow warning for rain covering the south of England came into force at midday and will last until 03:00 GMT on Friday.

The warning, stretching from Cornwall to East Anglia, says there could be power cuts and travel disruption.

A major incident has been declared in Nottinghamshire due to flooding.

It comes just days after parts of Wales and England were hit by Storm Henk.

The Met Office said there was a chance of 20 to 30mm of rain falling in six to nine hours on Thursday across part of the area covered by its warning, with some places perhaps seeing up to 50mm.

“Impacts are more likely due to the current very wet ground across the region,” the weather agency added.

Rainwater falling on already-saturated ground could lead to localised flooding, with the Met Office warning there is a “small chance” communities could be cut off.

At 13:00 GMT, there were 215 active flood warnings across much of England, two in Scotland and one in Wales, which also has a severe flood warning on the River Ritec at Tenby. There are also more than 270 flood alerts in place across England and Wales.

Nottinghamshire County Council declared a major incident due to flooding and risk of further flooding.

The decision was taken by authorities due to rising river levels along the River Trent. The council has warned levels could come close to the highest on record in the year 2000.

It is advising residents living in flood risk areas to evacuate.

People who live in areas covered by flood warnings should act by turning off gas, water and electricity supplies, moving things upstairs or to safety, and moving family, pets and car to safety, according to the Environment Agency, which covers England.

Great Western Rail, which connects London with south-west England and south Wales, said more trains could be cancelled following disruption to its services earlier this week.

Weather for the Week Ahead

GWR services between Swindon and Bristol Parkway remain closed due to flooding on the tracks during Storm Henk, with services being diverted via Bath or Temple Meads, adding up to 40 minutes to passengers’ journeys.

The rail provider added its passengers could expect further disruption if high levels of rain return to areas already affected by extreme weather earlier this week.

In a statement, the firm said: “With further flood warnings in place and the amount of rain forecast, Network Rail has identified key sites in Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall as being at risk of flooding from around 15:00. Trains may not be able to operate through these areas.”

Services between Paddington and Swindon will operate but may be affected by flooding elsewhere, it added.

GWR said customers with tickets for later services on Thursday could use them on earlier trains.

BBC Weather presenter Sarah Keith-Lucas said the flooding situation could get worse for many southern counties from Cornwall to Norfolk.

“Strong, gusty winds will also be a hazard, especially so near the south coast and for the Channel Islands, where gusts could reach over 50mph,” she explained.

“The rain and wind will shift eastwards, eventually clearing the coast of East Anglia during tomorrow morning.

“Into the weekend, higher pressure is set to gradually build, which will bring us a much-needed spell of drier, calmer and colder weather, although it will take several days for some flooded areas to dry out.

“The outlook for next week is for less rainfall, more sunshine but also a drop in temperature too. Frost and fog are likely to return for some.”

The River Great Ouse in Harrold, Bedford, broke its banks

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert for all parts of England, which will come into effect on Saturday and last until next Tuesday.

It said that after a “period of mild and unsettled weather”, higher pressure coming into the weekend would mean colder temperatures.

Storm Henk hit the UK on Tuesday, bringing winds of up to 81mph and heavy rain.

A driver in his 50s was killed by a falling tree near to the town of Kemble in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire Police said.

There were also delays on the country’s rail and road networks caused by flooding and power failures.

Local farms have also been heavily impacted, with thousands of acres of crops and farmland sitting under floodwater left by Henk.

Farmers are calling on the government to invest more in river defences in rural areas to protect UK food production.

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