Melting Snow And Downpours Cause Flooding

Heavy rains combined with thawing snow are bringing flooding problems to many parts of Britain.

Almost 100 flood warnings remain in place today, and downpours and strong gusts of wind are expected to continue into the afternoon.

Weather experts have said that the south west and the north of England are most at risk from further flooding.

Large parts of the UK are on flood alert and the Met Office is warning people to be prepared for potential travel disruption.

The Environment Agency has around 87 flood warnings and more than 289 flood alerts in place, with river levels expected to swell further as successive bands of rain sweep the country.

All of England, Wales and Scotland, apart from possibly Kent, is expected to endure wet weather today, with west and north England and north and west Scotland bearing the brunt of the heavy and persistent rain.

Meanwhile, a canoeist died in hospital after he was pulled from the swollen River Swale at Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales by firefighters using boats.

An RAF Sea King was dispatched to the scene and the man was taken to hospital by air ambulance after the fire crew and mountain rescue workers managed to get him out of the water.

The AA said crews had been called to at least 17 motorists stuck in water..

A woman was forced to abandon her car after it became stranded in flood water on the A34 at Meaford in Staffordshire.

In Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales a motorist had to be rescued from floodwater by fire crews who pushed him to safety.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service pumped water from the road - 4ft deep in some places - into a nearby culvert on the advice of the Environment Agency, and warned motorists from driving through flood water after being called out to rescue several people.

Mountain rescue workers were drafted in to help with rescue operations and check on the condition of drivers stranded by the snow.

A diabetic man was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital after falling ill, while an ambulance taking a female patient to the Royal Preston Hospital had to be dug out of the snow by Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team.

There were reports of flooding in south Wales too overnight after downpours replaced almost two weeks of snow.

Norfolk Police also reported flooding caused by melting snow and ice, which has closed a number of roads in the area.

Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "After very mild, wet and windy weather on Saturday night, snow has melted rapidly. The combination of heavy rain and the thaw has brought flooding in places.

"Flooding will continue to be a concern during Monday and Tuesday as further active frontal systems are set to sweep east bringing gales and heavy rain.

"Western and southwestern parts are most at risk with around one to two inches of rainfall, perhaps more on higher ground.

"The outlook is for it to remain generally mild, windy and unsettled."

Rising temperatures of up to 12C (53F) have sparked a rapid thaw of the snow and ice, after heavy snow storms on Friday night left hundreds of people stranded on motorways in the north of England.

The M6 was blocked in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 in Lancashire when a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow brought drivers to a standstill from around 8.30pm.

Trains running between Chester and Crewe were temporarily suspended because of flooding, with Virgin and Arriva services affected.

An EA spokesman said: "Emergency teams from the Environment Agency will be out in force, shoring up defences, monitoring river levels and clearing blockages from watercourses."

Around 18 buildings were flooded in various locations across Wales on Friday night, including two houses in Solva, Pembrokeshire, and two in Dolgellau, North Wales.

:: Send us your flood photos and videos