LARGE parts of the rest of the UK were lashed by high winds and rain over the weekend, causing widespread flooding.
South-west England and Wales were the most affected. There was widespread travel disruption as water engulfed rail lines near Exeter, in Devon, and dozens of minor roads were flooded. The Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain on Christmas Day, covering Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
Emergency services helped several people swept away in their cars and attended landslides brought down by the torrential rain.
The Environment Agency has one severe flood warning – “danger to life” – in place for the River Cober at Helston in Cornwall, after heavy rainfall overnight.
Last night there were 160 ordinary flood warnings, urging people to take immediate action, across the UK, with the most in the south-west and the Midlands, and 286 flood alerts. Tony Conlan, a forecaster with Meteogroup, said that while the rain would not be as heavy, it would be landing in areas already saturated with water.
“We certainly haven’t heard the last of the flooding stories,” he said.
“There is no sign of settled weather on the way for at least the next week.”
In Umberleigh, in Devon, a woman was rescued in an “heroic” effort by a lifeboat team after clinging to tree branches for 50 minutes. She was spotted by a police helicopter using thermal imaging after she was swept away from her car.
Another woman had a lucky escape after being swept away in her car in the Vale of Glamorgan. She was saved just moments before her car filled with water.
Residents of Braunton, north Devon, who were on Saturday cut off after the River Caen twice burst its banks, were again placing sandbags outside their homes and businesses last night as they prepared for more rain. The flooding had overwhelmed a new £1.2 million flood defence scheme.
Diane Cohen, 63, who runs the flood-hit Mariners Arms pub on South Street with her husband., said: “If you go into the middle of the village, all you can see is people with their belongings out on the pavements, mopping up and cleaning up behind them. It’s like a disaster zone.”
Torrential rain in Wales brought down tonnes of mud and rock into the village of Ystalyfera, near Swansea.