Developing

Weather: Travel Misery Amid Flood Warnings

Residents and motorists face a further 24 hours of flooding misery, with experts predicting another night of heavy rainfall.

Homes were flooded and roads left under water on Wednesday, as downpours caused widespread disruption in parts of Britain.

The southwest of England bore the brunt of the weather, with two inches of rain falling during 12 hours on Tuesday night.

The Environment Agency told communities there to brace themselves for further problems.

It issued more than 70 flood warnings - where flooding is expected - and nearly 150 flood alerts, mostly in the Midlands and southwest.

It said: "It is possible that up to five inches of rain will fall on already-saturated ground, leading to river flooding during the next 24 hours.

"Strong winds could yet worsen conditions, particularly surface water flooding, as leaves and debris block drains and channels."

Environment Agency teams are on the ground across the country, clearing watercourses of debris and monitoring river levels, and will be out in force over the coming days.

Pete Fox, the Environment Agency's head of flood risk strategy, said: "There is already significant travel disruption due to the wet weather and we would urge people to remain vigilant."

He added that people at flood risk should move their valuable possessions to a safe place before more heavy rain falls.

There were major problems on the roads throughout Wednesday, with the AA being called to many hundreds of weather-related breakdowns.

By 4pm, it had attended more than 8,000 breakdowns nationally - 37% busier than normal - including 499 floodwater-related callouts.

A spokesman said flood-related work was concentrated around the M5 corridor but was also affecting Worcestershire and south Birmingham, with many roads reportedly impassable.

Dozens of schools were closed and businesses, including pubs and restaurants, were forced to turn away customers following the floods.

Emergency services in Somerset were also called to a flooded property to help rescue a woman who had gone into labour and needed to get to hospital.

Earlier this week, more than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes and transport links were cut off after persistent heavy rain caused flooding in Scotland.

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