Flood warnings as yet more heavy rain brings travel chaos, with 70mph winds battering the coasts

22 February 2024, 06:11

The UK is set to see more rain on Thursday
The UK is set to see more rain on Thursday. Picture: Alamy/Met Office

By Kit Heren

Heavy rain and strong winds are set to cause more disruption on Thursday, with dozens of flood warnings issued.

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Forecasters have also put out a yellow rain warning covering the East Midlands, East of England, London and south-east England, the South West and West Midlands. That lasts from 5am to 5pm on Thursday.

That warning says: "Rain will be heavy at times and perhaps become more prolonged to give 3-6 hours of rain.

"Most places within the warning area will see 10-15mm of rainfall but a few places could see 30-40mm with this falling onto already saturated ground.

"Lightning and gusty winds are likely to be additional hazards, with a small chance of gusts around 50mph in a few places."

Flooded fields at Axminster in Devon after the River Axe burst its banks
Flooded fields at Axminster in Devon after the River Axe burst its banks. Picture: Alamy

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for rain for the West Midlands, South Wales and south-west England, which is in place until 2pm.

Some places are forecast to see 20-30mm of rain during the warning period, forecasters said.

Forecasters warn: "A band of heavy rain and squally winds will move east across South Wales and south-west England early on Thursday morning, with further heavy rain at times until early afternoon.

"Some places will see 10-15mm of rain within 2 hours and a few places could have 20-30mm of rain during the period of the warning."

Wet weather in London
Wet weather in London. Picture: Getty

Meanwhile a yellow warning for wind is also in place for Thursday from 8am to 6pm, with "gusts of around 50mph in a few places very briefly, as well as some hail and thunder".

The East of England, London, the South East and South West are the regions which have been urged to brace for "a small chance of disruption from strong winds".

The wind warning also states: "There is a small chance of a broader swathe of very strong winds affecting southern and eastern England with gusts of 60 to 70mph, mostly likely close to English Channel and southern North Sea coasts."

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 39 flood warnings - when flooding is expected - and 203 flood alerts in England with National Resources Wales issuing three flood warnings and 28 flood alerts.

Wet weather in Staines-upon-Thames
Wet weather in Staines-upon-Thames. Picture: Alamy

Great Western Railway said there was flooding near Totnes in Devon, which had disrupted its services. No trains were expected to run from Plymouth to Exeter St David's until after 10am on Thursday. The company said it would be running a very limited service in the other direction.

It comes as much of the UK is already sodden after a wet Wednesday. The 12-hour rainfall totals for the day included 68mm recorded at Whitebarrow on Dartmoor and 63mm at Coniston Coppermines, Cumbria.

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said that "after what has been a wet February so far, further rain is on the way on Thursday, accompanied by some gusty winds".

Strong winds and heavy rain for shoppers in Preston
Strong winds and heavy rain for shoppers in Preston. Picture: Alamy

He added: "There's a small chance that wind gusts could reach 60-70mph, mostly likely on exposed coasts, though more widely we're likely to see a shorter spell of heavy, squally rain with hail and thunder in a few places and gusts to around 50mph.

"Most places within the warning areas are likely to see 10-15mm of rain, with a chance of 30-40mm in a few places. This is falling on saturated ground, which elevates the chances of flooding and disruption."

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