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Flood warnings issued across Britain amid ‘persistent heavy rain’ and 50mph wind

Waves crash over the promenade during rain and strong winds in Folkestone, Kent. The Met Office has issued warnings for heavy rains and floods, falling heaviest in western areas but causing wet and windy conditions all over the country. Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA

By Laura Parnaby, PA

Some homes and businesses could be flooded in the coming days as heavy rain and winds of up to 50mph hit parts of the UK, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office has issued three yellow warnings for “persistent heavy rain” in Wales, western England, and south-west Scotland on Tuesday evening, while a yellow warning for “strong winds” covers the Northern Isles overnight.

Two yellow rain warnings – one stretching from Cardiff to Bangor and another covering Lancashire and southern Cumbria – will remain in place until 8pm on Tuesday.

A third yellow warning for rain covers south-western and central Scotland, including Glasgow and Stirling until 7pm on Tuesday.

The Met Office has said “some disruption” is expected in these areas, including “flooding of a few homes and businesses”, “spray” on the roads, increased journey times on public transport, and “possible” power cuts.

A yellow wind warning over the islands north of Scotland also indicates likely disruption to public transport, and that “some coastal communities will be affected by spray and large waves”, according to the national forecaster.

The warning comes into force from 6pm on Tuesday until 10am on Wednesday, with wind speeds predicted to reach up to 50mph within the first few hours of this window.

More wet and windy weather is also on the way for south Wales and south-west England, with a yellow rain warning covering these regions for 20 hours from 9pm on Wednesday.

The Met Office said that the hamlet of Seathwaite in Cumbria has experienced the most rain so far on Tuesday, with 73mm recorded as of 3.30pm, followed by Capel Curig in Gwynedd, Wales, which was hit by 44mm in the same period.

More than 160 flood warnings have also been issued across Britain by environment regulators, because saturated ground caused by recent wet weather means that even areas which avoid the worst of this week’s deluge could be at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency, which covers England, has issued 28 warnings, mostly clustered in Dorset where flooding is “expected”, along with 97 alerts across the country, where flooding is “possible”.

Staff from the agency have been erecting flood barriers at several of the most at-risk scenes, including in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley, which has previously experienced flooding from the River Severn.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Wales has issued 34 “flood alerts” across the same areas covered by the Met Office warnings, and one more serious “flood warning” for properties near the River Vyrnwy on the border with Shropshire.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued six flood alerts across south-west Scotland, covering Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, Central Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and West Central Scotland.

RAC Breakdown has advised motorists to “be on their guard” during the wet weather by driving slowly and leaving a large space between their vehicle and those ahead.

Rod Dennis, a spokesman for the vehicle repair and insurance company, said: “Rain now appears to be a constant feature of January’s weather, so we urge drivers to be on their guard.

“The dangers of driving in freezing conditions are well known, but it’s easy to underestimate the risk that rain, especially heavy downpours, presents.

“It’s vital people slow down, leave a much larger space between their vehicle and the one in front, and avoid driving through standing water.

“Anyone driving through even very shallow water at speed risks losing control of their vehicle in what is known as aquaplaning, something which drastically increases the chances of an accident.”

For those worried about damage to their home, the National Flood Forum recommends finding out how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies, and keeping a list of useful contacts including for your GP and insurance company.

The charity also advises taking detailed photographs of your property before a flood occurs as evidence for any insurance claims, and in the event of a flood, checking on neighbours who could be elderly, disabled or have young children.

Forbes Advisor, a price comparison and financial guidance platform, advises checking gutters and drains are clear of obstructions so that any excess water can escape.

It also recommends assessing garden trees for any branches which could fall in windy weather, and keeping an eye on official flood warnings for your area.

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