09/07/2008

Summer A Washout As Heavy Rain Is Forecast

Heavy rain warnings have been issued across the south of England.

The Met Office has said that wet weather was due to continue into the evening but "most areas should be drier by midnight".

Although the Environment Agency currently has no flood warnings in force, five rivers in Oxfordshire have been put on flood watch alert.

They are River Thames, Evenlode, Ock, Thame and Ray.

The agency also expects flooding of low-lying land and roads.

Almost an inch of rain hit Devon and Cornwall overnight.

Forecasters have warned that some areas could experience up to three-quarters of the month's average rainfall in one day, with the south-west of England and south Wales expected to suffer the worst.

A statement released by MeteoGroup said: "Heavy rain will sweep north-eastwards across much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland during Wednesday.

"The rain is expected to be most persistent across Wales and southwest England with up to 20-30mm of rain falling across a wide area by the late evening.

"Locally, across parts of south Wales, up to 40-50mm of rain is expected through the day, leading to localised flooding.

"However, the rain is expected to ease across Wales and western England during Wednesday night.

Matt Dobson, of MeteoGroup UK, said "this will be a very wet day. A band of rain has been falling over the south-west of England since midnight, and a second band is due later today."

Flash floods hit many parts of Oxfordshire and Berkshire last month prompting several schools to shut.

The Environment Agency has advised people who are worried to check their website for updates if they believe they are at risk.

Scotland is expected to escape the wet weather with just a few light showers.

(DS)

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