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UK lashed by heavy rain as Storm Angus brings floods chaos

Published 21/11/2016

Some parts of Britain could see flooding over the next 24 hours
Some parts of Britain could see flooding over the next 24 hours

Heavy rain continued to lash Britain in the wake of Storm Angus causing flooding and travel chaos across many parts of the country.

The wind and torrential downpours which deluged many parts of the UK on Monday saw a ferry stranded at sea, with roads closed, homes flooded, schools shut and cars submerged.

More than 75 flood warnings were put in place across the South West, the Midlands, North East, North West, Wales and the East of England by the Environment Agency on Monday evening, with a further 207 flood alerts issued across England and Wales.

Owing to the extreme weather, passengers and crew onboard a Stena Europe ferry were forced to stay on board after the vessel failed to dock in Fishguard Harbour at 12.30pm after sailing from Rosslare, Ireland at 9am.

A spokeswoman for Stena Line said: "The health and safety of passengers and crew is of paramount importance to Stena Line, therefore the 87 passengers and 59 crew members will remain onboard overnight until a second attempt at docking takes place at midday tomorrow."

Many railway lines were also affected by the flooding, with multiple providers reporting delays and blocked lines.

Great Western Railway (GWR) advised commuters not to travel owing to the "severe flooding at a number of separate locations" across their network.

A spokesman said the mainline route into Devon and Cornwall was blocked at two separate locations, as well as the mainline route between London and Bristol Temple Meads - significantly affecting their services.

He also said a queueing system was put in place at Bristol Temple Meads station to ensure passengers could board and alight trains safely.

Services between London Paddington and Cardiff were also disrupted, and CrossCountry trains also said a number of their lines were blocked because of flooding.

Commuters were also advised by TransPennine Express "not to travel unless absolutely necessary" owing to the disruption caused by the flooding.

A spokesman for Network Rail, who manage the Britain's rail infrastructure, said flooding had affected people travelling in and around parts of Wales and the West of England.

There were also reports of people being helped from their vehicles. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said two people were "assisted from a vehicle" on the B3109 in South Wraxall.

While in Carmarthenshire, Wales, Dyfed Powys Police said a man was helped from a van which had become trapped in flood water before it was "washed away".

A man was also rescued from a car stuck in flood water near Frome, Somerset, said Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said in the hours between 5am and 5pm on Monday, 48mm of rain fell in Brendon Hill in North Devon, 35mm fell in Bristol, 48.6mm in Pennerley, Shropshire, and 49.4 in Tafolog, Monmouthshire.

"The heaviest and more persistent rain is clearing northeastwards, so it will affect southern and eastern parts of Scotland through tonight and early tomorrow morning," he added.

"But behind all the rain across the rest of the UK there is a lot of showers and some of these heavy and thundery at times - these will gradually clear as we go through tomorrow. It will be a better day, but it is still going to be quite windy."

He said there are wind warnings for the North and North West England, valid from 9pm until 6am, and a warning for the South Coast from Hampshire eastwards valid from 1am to 9am, in place.

Mr Burkill said across the south coast gusts of between 50-60mph could be seen with up to 70-80mph on the most exposed coastal parts, with 50-60mph expected in the North East with up 70mph on the highest grounds.

"Even though the worst of the rain is clearing northwards, we have still got some pretty strong winds to deal with which will likely cause some further problems," he added.

The Environment Agency warned the forecast of "widespread heavy rain and showers" will affect "most parts of England over the next 36 hours" and could cause more flooding.

Clare Dinnis, national flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Environment Agency teams are working hard to reduce the risk of flooding, but we want to remind people not to take unnecessary risks and avoid driving through flood water or walking near swollen rivers.

"People should also take care if walking by the coast as there is a risk of large waves caused by strong and gale force winds."

Devon County Council said 14 schools were shut owing to flooding and in Somerset schools were closed due to "weather related" problems, Somerset County Council said on its website.

Meanwhile, police in South Wales have stood down a search for a pensioner who has disappeared during Storm Angus due to fading light and treacherous weather conditions.

The search for Russell Sherwood, 69, from Neath, will resume on Tuesday.

Mr Sherwood has not been seen since he left his home in his silver Ford Focus car on Sunday morning to drive to Bridgend.

He failed to arrive at the address and a search was launched by police.

"Officers believe he reached Stormy Down, Bridgend, in his vehicle and are appealing to anybody who may have information," a force spokesman said.

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