UK weather: homes flooded as storm hits Britain

Flood warnings issued across the UK as high tides combine with Atlantic storms to pose threat to life


IT MAY be a new year, but the British weather feels depressingly familiar. As high winds and rain battered the UK again today, about 100 flood warnings were issued – 21 of them severe.

This morning's high tide brought flooding to parts of Scotland, Wales and western England. About 30 homes were flooded in Cardigan, west Wales, and several people were trapped by rising water levels, the BBC reports.

Although the damage was less than had been feared, forecasters have warned that heavy rain will combine with tonight's high tide to bring further flooding for western areas.

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Seven severe flood warnings – applied when floods could cause a danger to life – remain in force in Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wales.

Last night, homes in Newport, Wales were evacuated due to the threat of flooding caused by the highest tides in 17 years.

Scotland and Northern Ireland are also taking a beating. Flood warnings have been issued in Belfast and Larne, Newry, Newtownards and Clough under threat.

Police had advised residents in the Sydenham and Victoria Park areas of Belfast to pack a bag and prepare for evacuation, but this morning's high tide passed without serious incident. Flooding was limited to coastal areas of Northern Irealand and parts of Coleraine, County Londonderry, where the River Bann burst its banks.

The environment secretary Owen Paterson chaired a meeting of the government's emergencies committee, Cobra, today to discuss the extreme weather. He warned yesterday that "exceptional weather" would hit the UK today and over the weekend, the BBC reports.

Inevitably, transport was disrupted by the storms. First Great Western rail services have been delayed due to flooding and Arriva Trains Wales reported severe weather-related delays and cancellations. So far, there are no reports of disruption at British airports, although flights to and from the east coast of the United States have been affected by a snowstorm there.

In London, the Thames Barrier has been closed to protect people and property along the river. There is some risk of flooding in Kent and warnings of storm surges in Sussex.

Sky News reports that the search for a 27-year-old man swept out to sea while celebrating the new year on the beach near Porthleven, in Cornwall, was called off yesterday after a body was found.

Meanwhile, a woman, thought to be on holiday with her family, has died in the surf in north Devon. The coastguard is searching for a man who is believed to have fallen into the River Stour in Christchurch, Dorset.

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