Britain braced for another soaking

Britain braced for another soaking

The River Thames in Henley-on-Thames, south Oxfordshire, has burst its banks and flooded neighbouring fields

A man walks down a flooded road in Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire

First published in National News © by

Flood warnings remain in place for England and Wales this weekend as the short respite from heavy rain is expected to give way to another band of miserable weather.

Days of almost relentless downpours blighted parts of the country for much of December, punctuated only by the briefest of dry spells as communities count the cost of flooding.

Hundreds of alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency this month, as several days' worth of rain has fallen in just a few hours at its worst, contributing to a year of bad weather which has left the UK on the brink of its wettest since records began in 1910.

Homes have been evacuated and weary commuters and travellers have been forced to find alternative routes or abandon their plans altogether as sections of Britain's transport network ground to a halt.

But while Saturday has been largely dry for many, forecasters have predicted the respite is only temporary.

Heavy rain is expected to return for Sunday into Monday morning, falling on already-saturated ground. River and groundwater levels are still high, while larger rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Wye are likely remain high for several days.

England's South West, South East and Midlands regions are most likely to be affected, as well as large chunks of Wales, the Environment Agency said.

Its flood risk manager, Katharine Evans, said: "With more heavy rain forecast, it is still as important as ever to be prepared for flooding, keep up to date with the latest warnings and if you are at risk, to move valuable items to safety.

"Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect communities from flooding, and we would urge people to stay safe by not walking or driving through flood water."

Forecasters have said 2012 could become the wettest on record in the UK after predicting a wet and windy end to the year as flood-battered areas were warned they face renewed danger from storms.

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