UK weather: Storm Alex in your area as Britain lashed with ‘danger to life’ storms
Weather warnings are in place for most of the UK this weekend, with the Met Office issuing alerts not seen since March as Storm Alex washes through.
Persistent downpours are expected to bring flooding and transport disruption, with more than 20 flood alerts in place.
Much of the country woke to a sodden beginning to the weekend, with the worst yet to come as two amber weather warnings are in place.
In dramatic pictures from Essex on Saturday morning, a man plucked his wife to safety – after she had to flee to her car’s roof where she was trapped after driving through heavy floodwaters in Ingatestone.
People in affected areas are being urged to take care in the perilous conditions – and avoid driving through swollen floodwaters likely to be powerful enough to “float cars” this weekend.
The Met Office issued one amber alert covering North West England, South West England, Wales and the West Midlands from midday Saturday until 6am on Sunday.
The warning for “danger to life” flooding cautions homes and businesses could be damaged, with fast and deep flowing surges likely.
Motorists should anticipate traffic delays due to flooding in the affected areas, and cancellations to train and bus services are likely too, the national forecaster warned.
There is a “good chance” entire communities could be cut off by flooded roads, the Met Office warned.
A second rain warning for parts of eastern Scotland from dusk tonight until dawn Sunday also warns of “danger to life” flooding risks, road delays and train cancellations.
A yellow weather rain warning is also in place from Saturday until midday Sunday for much of South West England, Wales, the West Midlands, East Anglia, London, North Eastern areas and coastline, and parts of Eastern Scotland.
Some parts could see between 25 and 50mm of rain, with up to 90mm on higher ground in Wales and southwest England, the Met Office said.
Exposed parts of Snowdonia and Exmoor could see more than 120mm of rain over the washout weekend.
Exmoor, in South West England between Devon and Somerset, is the worst hit area so far, with 84mm of rain recorded in 36 hours in Liscombe and 74.4mm recorded in Brendon Hill by Saturday morning.
The Met Office said the last time amber warnings were issued for rain was in March, as forecasters warned of heavy rain across much of the country.
Meteorologist John Griffiths said: “There’s still a lot of wet weather to get through today and into tonight, so we haven’t really seen the worst of it yet.”
Mr Griffiths said there has been 45-60mm of rain widely across southern England.
The storms brought heavy rain and strong winds, with 71mph recorded at Berry Head on the Devon coast.
Many places will see 25-50mm of rainfall this weekend, and there is the potential for over 120mm on some of the most exposed high ground of Snowdonia and Exmoor.
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Central Tayside and Fife plus the Grampian regions of Scotland are set to be hit by 40-70mm of rain with over 120mm possible over high ground on Saturday, Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said.
Mr Dewhurst said “it is going to be raining and horrible all day” on Saturday, adding: “If you have to travel take extra time on your journey, the roads will be pretty treacherous at times with poor visibility due to the heavy rain.”
Drains could become blocked with debris as trees are now in full leaf and there is a heightened risk of flooding and very difficult driving conditions.
Carol Holt, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, added that “widespread and persistent rain is likely to lead to flooding” in some areas over the weekend.
She added: “We urge people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive though flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.”
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