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Weather: Warning of flooding risk issued for East Lothian as storms claim second fatality

A woman was killed in southwest England due to floods. Picture: Getty

A woman was killed in southwest England due to floods. Picture: Getty

  • by ALASTAIR DALTON
 

THE storms battering Britain have claimed a second life, as eastern Scotland was braced for more rain and further flooding today.

A 21-year-old woman died after a tree fell onto her tent in Exeter in Devon, injuring two others.

Prime Minister David Cameron expressed shock at the flooding which has devastated parts of south west England and Wales, and promised to “ensure everything is being done to help”.

The second weather-related death in two days came as new severe weather and flood alerts were issued for parts of Scotland.

The Met Office announced a yellow – “be aware” – warning for persistent rain and flooding in East Lothian and the eastern Borders today.

Forecasters warned the rain could become “occasionally heavy”, especially in the morning, but it is expected to ease later in the day.

Two alerts, warning people to be prepared for possible flooding, were issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency for Edinburgh and the Lothians, and the Borders.

It said: “The persistent rain forecast throughout Monday has the potential to result in localised disruption and flooding to low-lying land and roads, via surface-water run-off and small watercourse sources. Areas within eastern extents are particularly at risk.”

Flooding in Scotland yesterday included on the A823(M) motorway spur to the M90 north near Dunfermline.

Police said the woman who died in Exeter had been living in a small tent sheltered against a wall at the roadside.

The incident on Saturday night came two days after a man was killed when his car became wedged under a bridge near a ford at Chew Stoke in Somerset.The Environment Agency said more than 800 homes had been flooded south of the Border, with thousands of motorists being rescued.

Last night, more than 500 alerts had been issued, including nearly 230 flood warnings.

They included one severe flood warning – the highest alert level – for the River Cober, at Helston, in Cornwall.

Rainfall is estimated to be around 15mm across the spine of Britain today, less than the 30mm of rain in pockets of the West Country.

Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire were badly affected yesterday. Environment Minister Richard Benyon met people in Malmesbury, where 3ft of water was reported in parts of the Wiltshire town.

Residents of several villages in Cornwall were forced to flee as flood water and torrential rain caused “serious threats to life”. The village of Millbrook was under 5ft of water.

Mr Cameron said: “Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country. The government will help ensure everything is being done to help.”

An ambulance official yesterday criticised people for failing to use common sense, which was endangering the lives of rescue workers. Nathan Hudson, general manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We were called out to several incidents where cars have tried to pass through flooded roads, fords, and small rivers and got stuck.

“The net effect is 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 floodwater is inherently dangerous.”

Mr Hudson said staff had been called to rescue a “remarkable” number of people stranded in 4x4s. He said: “Just because your vehicle has four-wheel drive, does not make it amphibious. They too can become stuck in deep flood water.”

A 70-year-old man died when his car crashed into a river in Cambridgeshire on Saturday night.

 

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