UK & World News
Freak Summer Downpours Begin To Ease Off
The number of flood alerts in place across Britain has been reduced after freak summer downpours started to ease off.
Rain has lashed parts of south east England since Sunday evening, with some areas seeing a month's rainfall in a day, but now the weather appears to be settling.
The Environment Agency (EA) had 50 flood alerts in place in the early hours of this morning, but have reduced the number to 38. The number of serious flood warnings has also fallen from six to four.
But while the South East will enjoy some respite from heavy rain, poor weather is moving to the west.
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "After a deluge of rain on Monday, downpours are easing off in the south east of England.
"But sporadic rain is forecast for Wales later which may cause problems, given that the area has already had a large amount of rainfall over the past few days.
"With the bad weather moving west there are also thundery showers in store for Ireland and south west England - particularly in Torbay and South Devon - and these will continue through to Thursday and Friday."
Flooding has already wreaked havoc across parts of the country, causing the closures of roads and a hospital.
In 36 hours, up to 7am this morning, parts of south-east England saw more than a months worth of rain.
Wiggonholt in West Sussex received the biggest lashing with 72mm downpour in that time. It's monthly average for June is 52.9mm.
In the same county, Thorney Island and Shoreham Airport recorded 68.6mm and 67.8mm respectively.
Emergency cases at nearby Worthing Hospital were diverted to neighbouring Brighton and Chichester for several hours overnight because of flooding.
Meanwhile, a special disaster fund is to be set up after more than 1,500 people were evacuated and 150 rescued in mid-Wales over the weekend.
Water up to five feet gushed through homes and businesses in Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd, with the clean-up and insurance costs expected to run into millions of pounds.
But despite the heavy rainfall, an EA spokesman confirmed areas of southern England remained in drought.
He said: "The rain we have had since the start of April - following the driest March for 70 years - has led to a huge improvement in water resources, putting us in a much more positive position for the summer.
"Water companies have seen reservoir levels rise, river levels are mostly back to normal, and many wildlife habitats that were suffering due to a lack of water have recovered.
"While the risk of drought with further water restrictions and associated environmental impacts this summer has reduced, the situation could deteriorate again next year if there is not enough rain this winter, particularly as groundwater levels are still low for this time of year."
The Met Office said the UK was still below its average rainfall for the time of year
There are no severe flood warnings, the highest alert, which mean there is an immediate danger to life.
The Environment Agency warned people to remain vigilant and check its website for the latest situation, adding that people were "strongly" advised to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwater.