UK & World News
Floods: Military On Standby As Water Moves East
The military has been drafted in to build up emergency barriers against fresh flood risks as rising river levels move eastwards across the southern UK.
Two hundred Royal Navy engineers have been building a sandbag barrier measuring 600 metres in Datchet, near Windsor, Berkshire, along the River Thames.
Fourteen of 16 severe flooding warnings - where there is danger to life - have been issued for the Thames Valley area as the already swollen river is predicted to burst its banks in several places between Didcot and Shepperton Green.
Around 2,500 homes in the Thames Valley are at risk, according to the Environment Agency.
Lieutenant Commander Paul Barker was in charge of the engineers in Datchet.
He told Sky News: "This is looking like an enduring task, currently these engineers have been on task all day and will be working into the night.
"This is a real task because the water is rising."
The Thames Barrier was closed again on Sunday morning to protect communities west of the capital.
Network Rail has warned that train lines in the Thames Valley are at risk of flooding from Monday as floodwaters move east down the river.
Forecasters have warned there will be little respite from hurricane-force winds and lashing rain that have seen hundreds of people forced from their homes in the South West.
Heavy rain and winds of more than 60mph over the weekend will die out by Sunday night, but the brief respite is expected to be broken by another storm arriving on Monday evening.
Prime Minister David Cameron chaired an emergency Cobra meeting on Sunday night and said "every resource is available to help" as authorities attempt to aid beleaguered homeowners.
There are nearly 200 medium risk flood warnings across Wales and central and southern England.
The Met Office has warned that river levels are expected to continue rising along the Thames, Severn and the Dorset Stour this week.
The Ministry of Defence has put 1,600 personnel on six hours' notice to help in the south of England.
Two other severe flood warnings remain in the South West, which has seen significant flooding especially on the Somerset Levels.
Another 20,000 sandbags are ready to be deployed to communities in the area.
Somerset County Council leader John Osman said: "Our main aim is to keep residents and their property as safe as possible.
"We are working tirelessly 24/7 to ensure residents are safe, our roads are as clear as they can be in these difficult circumstances, schools are open, school buses can operate and vulnerable people receive the care and services they need."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Military personnel, currently mostly Royal Marines, continue to provide support in Somerset in areas affected by floods as part of cross-Government and multi-agency relief efforts."
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "Another depression will track across the south through Wednesday night and early Thursday bringing gales and heavy rain, again a fast-moving system, but raising the risk of coastal flooding for Wales and southern England.
"Looking at the general theme through mid-February, no change is expected. With a strong Atlantic jet stream, further depressions are likely."
It comes after Communities Secretary Erick Pickles blamed the Environment Agency for providing poor advice over the dredging of rivers to prevent flooding.
The MP said the Government may have "relied too much on the Environment Agency's advice".
According to the Met Office, this has been one of, if not, the most exceptional period of winter rainfall in England and Wales in the last 248 years.
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