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Heavy rainfall 'set to ease off'

Heavy rainfall is set to gradually give way to a brighter outlook after torrential downpours caused widespread disruption across parts of the country.

Conditions over the next 24 hours are expected to be drier if still cool, offering a break from the snowfall, heavy rain and high winds experienced over the last two days.

However, forecasters predicted a return to the miserable weather by Thursday, with showers and gale force winds expected into the weekend.

Nine flood warnings were issued by the Environment Agency, with six in the north east and three in the southern region, and 33 areas around the country were put on flood watch.

MeteoGroup forecaster Brendan Jones said: "There will be a respite from the unsettled weather tonight through to tomorrow. Into Thursday morning we are expecting to have rain, showers and gale force winds across many parts of the UK, setting the scene for the rest of the week and weekend, but it will be milder."

Shelter was earlier given to those hit by flooding as rain lashed much of the UK.

As many as 50 flooded properties were reported in Emsworth, Hampshire, and 10 in the Isle of Wight, the Environment Agency said.

Residents of a 200-metre stretch of Bridge Road in Emsworth were offered evacuation by police boat and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's water support unit after the street became submerged under about a metre of water. Those affected were given shelter in a nearby community centre.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said six members of the public, including a newborn baby, had to be evacuated by boat in Emsworth.

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