Communities and flood defences in Devon and Dorset are already vulnerable after being battered by this week’s storms and are now facing more devastation. Atlantic storm Ruth will batter Britain this weekend bringing 80mph winds and 35ft waves.
The Environment Agency said further heavy rainfall will exacerbate the risks of flooding from rivers and surface water across the south west, central and south-east areas of England.
The Prime Minister last night pledged to do everything he could to help the flood-stricken communities but warned solutions would take some time.
Mr Cameron travelled to the Somerset Levels via helicopter – meaning he was able to view the region’s 65 square miles of submerged land first hand.
The Prime Minister stood in floodwater in a pair of Wellington boots to survey the damage to Tony Davy’s farm in Fordgate. “It’s a biblical scene,” Mr Cameron said.
“The scale of it here in Somerset is immense, when you think of how many square miles are under water.
“Clearly, people here have faced a very tough time and continue to face a tough time and that’s why we have got to do everything we can to help.
“So more pumps, we brought in more pumps, more help from the emergency services, more help is there, money to help Somerset get back on its feet, the money is there, the army coming in to help, whether it’s helping with sandbags, which they’ve been doing over the last 24 hours, or looking to see whether temporary bridges can be put in place.
“Everything that can be done will be done.”
David Cameron’s decision to see for himself the devastation coincided with a trip by beleaguered Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith to the area, where he faced furious residents and calls to quit.
Angry farmer Julian Green confronted Lord Smith live on television and demanded that he resign. Mr Green told him: “We just need something done … our house is going under, it’s as simple as that.
Severe flood warnings – which means there is risk to life – remain in place for the Somerset Levels as successive bands of rain show no sign of easing.
The country has faced an extraordinary period of severe weather and flooding with a continuing sequence of depressions bringing rain and high winds to many areas with very few dry days since 12 December.
Around 5,000 properties have been affected by flooding across the country and more flood misery is expected in the coming days.