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Wind and rain threaten more floods

A flood warning sign3/2/14

By David Clement

A fresh flood alert has been issued for the entire south of England as wind and rain threaten to bring more chaos to waterlogged communities.

Householders were told to brace themselves for further disruption after about 180 homes were flooded during a busy weekend for the Environment Agency and emergency services.

Residents in the south of England, Scotland and Wales were hardest hit.

In the south-west, some 1.5 million tonnes of water per day were pumped off the Somerset Levels in an around-the-clock bid to alleviate the effects of the crisis, now entering its sixth week.

Forecasters warned worse to come

In Scotland, coastguards braved the rough seas in the hunt for a missing angler, while in Wales, more than 50 mountain rescuers overcame atrocious weather conditions during a daring eight-hour rescue in the Cambrian Mountains.

Conditions eased on Sunday, offering a break for flood-hit communities - but forecasters warned there may be worse to come.

The whole of the south of England will be at an "increased risk" of flooding within the next 24 hours, according to the Environment Agency's flood risk manager Kate Marks.

As high tides and large waves threaten the south coast, further rain on already saturated ground could lead to river flooding.

"With further severe weather conditions expected in the coming days, the Environment Agency is likely to issue further warnings so people should check their flood risk and get early warnings so they can take action to protect their property," she said.

Extraordinary weather

The UK has been hit by extraordinary weather and flooding since early December, with villagers in Somerset bearing the brunt of the storms.

They are bracing themselves for a sixth consecutive week of flooding.

Two specialist all-terrain vehicles, along with extra pumping equipment, have been sent to the county.

The village of Muchelney has been only accessible by boat, while those living in or around Moorlands and Burrowbridge are anxiously monitoring water levels.

Tensions were exacerbated when microbiologists announced that flood waters contained more than 60 times the safe level of bacteria.

78 flood warnings across England and Wales

Over the UK as a whole, the number of severe flood warnings decreased from nine to three over the weekend. But 78 flood warnings and 265 flood alerts remain in place across England and Wales.

And saturated ground and high river levels could lead to further river flooding this week after some places experienced the wettest January on record.

Specifically, officials warned fresh flooding could affect the south coasts of Devon and Cornwall on Tuesday - along with parts of Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

During the coming week, other areas at risk include the River Severn in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire; the Frome and Avon in Dorset; the River Thames and its tributaries in Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Reading, Slough and Hampshire; and the Medway in Kent.

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