Wind and rain causes chaos on roads

Andover Advertiser: The AA has experienced its busiest ever day for flood-related call-outs The AA has experienced its busiest ever day for flood-related call-outs

Heavy wind and rain have brought chaos to large parts of the country for a second day running, leaving hundreds of drivers stranded and more than 100 homes evacuated.

Many roads were left unpassable as homeowners were again forced to protect their properties as water deluged swathes of the country. The South West, Midlands and west of England were the worst affected areas as heavy downpours led to flash flooding.

The AA had its busiest day for flood-related call-outs in history on Wednesday and commuters again suffered major disruption on Thursday.

People were evacuated from Billing Aquadrome campsite in Northamptonshire following flood warnings from the nearby River Nene.

Nationwide, the AA had attended around 4,600 breakdowns by midday on Thursday, with up to 900 incidents being reported every hour. The AA expects to attend up to 13,000 for the day, compared with around 9,500 on an average Thursday.

Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said: "With the ground so saturated, flash flooding was a real issue yesterday with many people getting stuck. Drivers really need to be careful and be prepared for sudden road closures. We also see some drivers plough into flood water, somewhat oblivious to the risks. "

The Met Office said some areas saw up to 60mm (5in) of rain falling on already saturated ground, which led to further river and surface water flooding.

Much of the UK faced winds of up to 50-60mph, and even gusts of up to 70mph in exposed western areas, which worsened surface water flooding as drains were blocked by wind-blown leaves and debris.

More wet weather is forecast across the country on Saturday and Sunday, with the possibility of further significant disruption as a result of flooding. The majority of areas at risk are in south-west England and the Midlands, and the Environment Agency urged people in affected areas, including Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Torbay, Plymouth, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to keep up to date with the latest warnings.

The gusty winds were so bad that high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorcycles were banned from using the Tamar Bridge, which connects Devon and Cornwall.

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