Risk Of Floods Despite Improving Weather

Risk Of Floods Despite Improving Weather

Swollen rivers are still at risk of flooding over the next few days as icy temperatures take hold of the UK.

The Environment Agency (EA) warned some rivers, including the Thames, Trent and Severn, remain at very high levels despite the improving weather.

It could take much longer for floodwaters to subside, as teams work around the clock to shore up defences and clear blockages from watercourses, it added.

Downpours across the country caused widespread devastation in towns and communities, but now the rain has made way for drier weather, the huge and costly clean-up operation is underway.

EA figures showed some 1,600 properties had flooded since yesterday, while flood defences had protected more than 54,000 homes.

Communities should still remain prepared for flooding, with 127 flood warnings and 137 flood alerts still in place across England and Wales, but more than 100 have been removed in the last 24 hours since the weather has improved.

Northeast Scotland and Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Anglia regions endured more rain overnight, with more expected in northeast Scotland and east England later.

Homeowners have continued to battle high water levels as a week of torrential rainfall works its way through river systems.

The EA has lifted two severe flood warnings - meaning a potential danger to life - for the River Elwy in the cathedral city of St Asaph and the A55 to Rhuddlan in North Wales.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated on Tuesday due to severe flooding in St Asaph after the River Elwy reached a record high of 14ft 3in (4.35 metres) and burst through flood defences.

This was more than 3ft (1 metre) deeper than its previous record of 11ft 4in (3.47 metres) in November 2009.

Those affected by the floods in the small Welsh city have been allowed back into their homes to begin the task of clearing up and emergency services are still on hand to help.

In Somerset, the county council is stepping in to help co-ordinate assistance to a stranded community of 120 people in Muchelney.

All roads in and out of the village have been closed due to flooding for several days. But the council has contacted Burnham Area Rescue service which has sent its boat to help get food, drinks and support to residents.

Sky's weather producer Joanna Robinson said: "There's still a risk of flooding, as recent rain works its way through the river systems, but ice and freezing fog will become additional hazards over the next few days.

"It's much drier now and the rest of the week looks mainly dry, apart from showers around coastal counties, which will turn increasingly wintry. Ireland will see patchy rain moving in at times.

"The days will be cold and the nights will be frosty, with icy stretches possible after the recent wet weather. The chance of overnight fog will increase as well."

Four people have died since the latest bout of wet weather struck last week and around 900 people in England and Wales have fled their waterlogged homes after heavy rain left many properties uninhabitable.

David Cameron has expressed sympathy for flood victims - describing the damage in St Asaph as "biblical scenes".

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron praised the emergency services and "good neighbours" who had helped tackle the flooding.

The PM also defended Government spending plans on flood defences, saying: "The Government is planning to spend over £2bn over the next four years.

"That is 6% less than over the previous four years, but we believe by spending the money better and by leveraging from private and other sectors we can increase that level of flood defence spending."

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