UK & World News

  • 23 November 2012, 4:39

Thousands Lose Power As Rain Batters Britain

Thousands of people have been left without power and scores evacuated from their homes after heavy rain battered Britain for a second day.

Up to 60mm (5ins) of rain fell in some areas as winds gusted up to 70mph, leaving vast swathes of the country under water.

People trying to escape the rising waters were forced to abandon their cars and the AA reported that 900 incidents were being reported every hour.

Around 2,000 homes in the South West and 500 in Wales were without power, as Western Power said it was looking to restore electricity.

There is more bad weather to come with forecasters predicting storms over the weekend, although Friday will bring a brief respite with calm and sunny weather.

Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said: "The threat of flooding looks to remain into the weekend, with potentially stormy conditions across England, Wales and Ireland on Saturday night.

"The threat of yet more heavy rain falling on already saturated ground is not good news and will only increase the risk of flooding."

The South West, Midlands and west of England again bore the brunt of the bad weather.

Commuters were faced with widespread delays and some cancellations, including at London Paddington where some trains to south west stations were scrapped. Minor delays were reported on cross-Channel ferry journeys from the Port of Dover in Kent.

The Environment Agency has scores of flood warnings - where flooding is expected - in place, most of them in the South West and the Midlands, and nearly 200 less serious flood alerts have also been issued.

John Curtin, head of incident management at the Environment Agency, said they had sent out teams to check on flood defences and monitor river levels.

Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said:"Drivers really need to be careful and be prepared for sudden road closures."

He said that some drivers ploughed into flood waters "oblivious to the risks" and warned that this could wreck a car's engine.

The motoring organisation was expecting to attend as many as 13,000 call-outs by the end of the day - 3,500 more than they normally would.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals criticised a decision to allow a ship carrying hundreds of sheep to set sail across the English Channel in such bad weather conditions.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said the crossing amounted to torture and added: "It is barbaric that animals are at sea on open decks in these appalling weather conditions."

People were evacuated from Billing Aquadrome campsite inNorthamptonshirefollowing flood warnings from the nearby River Nene.

Coastguards issued a warning after a man narrowly avoided being swept out to sea in his canoe off the south Devon coast.

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