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More rain on the way - but river levels 'set to fall'

Published 01/01/2016

People use canoes in York as levels on the River Ouse remain high after recent severe flooding in the city centre
People use canoes in York as levels on the River Ouse remain high after recent severe flooding in the city centre

Flood-hit communities will enjoy a welcome respite from further threats over the weekend after experts predicted river levels would fall in the next few days, despite persistent rainfall.

As towns and cities in northern England continue the clear-up after the Christmas floods, the Environment Agency (EA) has reduced the number of its flood warnings.

But 14 flood warnings and more than 60 flood alerts remain in place across England and Wales, and EA teams remain in stricken areas to help pump away flood water, repair damaged defences and clear river blockages.

Flood-ravaged regions will continue to face high river levels, particularly the River Severn in parts of Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and the River Ouse near York.

Localised flooding from rivers is possible in Devon and Cornwall for the next three days, the EA said, and in South Wales on Sunday, and with more rain on Friday and over the weekend rain could bring surface water flooding, particularly in the South West and South Wales.

But river levels are expected to gradually fall over the weekend, and all severe flood warnings have been removed.

Across the north of England over the past week more than 7,300 homes have flooded as river levels reached all time highs.

A weather system coming from the Atlantic to the south west has brought more rain for the UK, pushing across the country on Friday.

The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" weather warnings for rain, with more than 2in (5cm) predicted to fall on Dartmoor in Devon.

More serious amber warnings have been issued for parts of eastern Scotland for Saturday to Monday, with heavy rain likely and snow on higher ground above 600m. Up to eight inches (20cm) of rain could fall there before Monday.

Julian Mayes, a senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "Over the weekend, although we have got an area of low pressure more or less sat stationary over the UK, there will be outbreaks of rain in most areas. It is not going to be as heavy as recently, though.

"Saturday will be overcast, with patchy rain and drizzle in most areas, while on Sunday it will be a bit wetter.

"A band of heavy rain will move from Ireland and south west Britain north east to Scotland and northern England later on. But it will pass through and brighten up later, with showers coming into southern England and Wales."

Next week will be showery and colder than in recent weeks, with temperatures closer to the norms for this time of year, Mr Mayes added.

He said: "On Saturday it will be a little above average in southern Britain but fairly near normal in northern Britain - maximums of 7C on both Saturday and Sunday and up to 10C or 11C in southern England on both days."

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