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Southern England Communities On The Brink Of Major Flood Destruction

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Communities in England urged to check their flood risk and sign up to flood warnings with further rain expected over next few days

The Environment Agency is urging communities in England to check their flood risk and sign up to flood warnings as further rain is expected over the next few days.

Friday’s (20 December) downpours caused travel disruption and localised flooding in parts of southern England and Environment Agency teams continue to support local authorities, and transport operators, deal with surface water flooding on the roads and railways.

Further spells of rain are likely over the weekend and early next week across parts of southern England and with water falling on already saturated ground – and moving through the river network – over the next few days there remains an increased risk of river flooding along the Medway, Mole and Stour in the south east, and Severn in the south west.

As of 3pm on Saturday (21 December) there were 96 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – and 235 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – in place across the country.

Doug Wilson, Flood Duty Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

We continue to monitor rainfall and river levels closely and operate our flood defences across southern and central England, reducing the risk of flooding to thousands of homes and businesses.

Environment Agency teams have put up temporary flood defences in a number of locations including Bradford on Avon, Leatherhead, Guildford and Canterbury. Pumping continues at Saltmoor and Northmoor in Somerset to lower levels in the River Tone and the flood barrier at Leigh, in Kent, is operating.

Our flood information officers remain out on the ground in communities where there is a risk of flooding and staff are working around the clock to help keep people safe.

We advise people to sign up for flood warnings, stay away from swollen rivers and not drive through flood water – just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.

The advice to stay safe during wet weather comes as the Environment Agency and the AA published research showing that three quarters of drivers (74%) would risk driving through flood water, despite it being the leading cause of death during a flood.

So far this autumn rainfall records have been broken for South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire, with the previous records set in 2000. England as a whole has had its fifth wettest autumn since records began with 348mm of rain.

You can check your flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.