Flood alert ahead of fresh rainfall
Britain is bracing itself for more flooding this weekend as forecasters predict further heavy downpours.
A man died after being trapped in his 4x4 after it became wedged under a bridge in Chew Stoke, Somerset, at 8.50pm on Thursday.
The Environment Agency (EA) said nearly 300 properties had already flooded across the UK since Tuesday and claimed further disruption was likely. Some 59 flood warnings were issued and more than 160 less serious flood alerts were also given.
An EA spokesman said: "We're warning of a continued risk of surface water and river flooding this weekend across south west, central and north west England and Wales. Rain will return to all parts of the country on Saturday with the heaviest and most persistent rain in western England and parts of Wales.
"River flooding is likely with the possibility of significant disruption, particularly across Devon, north Somerset and Wales. This rain spreads north and east increasing flood risk in north-east and north-west England on Sunday."
Those injured in weather-related incidents included an elderly pedestrian whose head was cut after being struck by a tree, two teenage girls taken to hospital with head and shoulder injuries, and a female driver in her 50s who escaped with minor injuries after her car was crushed by a falling tree trunk.
Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said: "With more heavy rain forecast across the Midlands, Wales and the South West, road conditions in the affected areas are likely to only get worse as the ground is so saturated. Even if you think you know your local roads, don't be complacent, as flash-flooding continues to be a real risk and is catching people out."
The man who died after becoming trapped in his Mitsubishi Shogun in Somerset has not yet been named. He was pulled from the vehicle and was pronounced dead after emergency crews were called to the scene near a ford at Rectory Fields, Chew Stoke.
Petra Lowe, 43, who lives nearby, said: "Somebody in the village was out with their son and realised the car was stuck. I don't think that at the time they realised there was anyone in the car, and then they realised there was and they alerted emergency services. Due to the bridge they couldn't get out of the car. However the car was fixed, they couldn't actually get out."
Chris Burton, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the downpours were set to return over the weekend. He also warned that strong winds could cause problems: "Gusts across inland areas will get up to 50mph or 60mph, and gusts on the south coast on Saturday night and early Sunday could reach 70mph, which is strong enough to knock down trees."