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Heavy rain forces road closures as flood warnings remain in place

The Environment Agency has warned of the danger of rising groundwater.

Flood warnings are in place in many regions of England (Danny Lawson/PA)
Flood warnings are in place in many regions of England (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Tom Horton, PA

Heavy rain has forced road closures in the South West, as dozens of flood warnings remain in place after wet weather plagued the country on Boxing Day.

The Environment Agency warned of the danger of rising groundwater, with 28 flood warnings meaning flooding is expected, along with 80 alerts, which mean flooding is possible.

Drivers in south-west England faced delays on Friday after a number of roads were closed due to flooding in Devon and Dorset.

Sections of the A35, A39 and A377 were closed on Friday, and there was water on a number of more rural roads across the region.

The fire brigade had to rescue motorists from a car and a lorry that became stranded on Friday due to flood water and a fallen tree near Leigh Cross.

On Boxing Day night firefighters were called to Plymtree to rescue a driver who was unable to leave the car because of the height of the water.

Puddletown in Dorset was submerged on Friday after the River Piddle burst its banks.

Environment Agency flood duty manager Claire Dinnis said that the risk of flooding is “continuing to subside” as drier conditions move in.

She added: “River levels do remain high as the recent rain moves downstream – we will continue to monitor river levels closely and to operate our flood defences to help keep communities 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.”

Groundwater levels “remain high in parts of southern England, bringing a risk of localised groundwater flooding to some areas – although impacts are expected to be minimal”, said a statement from the agency.

They added that they have been using pumps to reduce water levels at Currymoor, Somerset.

A period of high pressure is expected to come in over the weekend, bringing a dry end to the year for many.

Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said the weather on Friday will see a split, with northern parts of the UK set for more rain, while conditions in the South are expected to be drier.

Saturday’s weather is expected to be similarly split, with drier, brighter spells for England and Wales, and rain for western Scotland.

There was patchy fog on Friday, especially across Wales, the Midlands and south-west England.

However conditions are expected to improve and Ms Roberts added that the high pressure will “keep things fairly quiet for the next five to 10 days or so” for much of the country.

PA

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