A major river burst its banks today as parts of Britain were hit by major flooding with up to four inches of rain and 60mph winds hitting the country along with lightning and hail.
The River Towy bursts its banks in Carmarthenshire as Wales bore the brunt of the severe weather, while flood barriers were installed at Bewdley in Worcestershire amid concerns at the high levels of the River Severn.
Flooding was also seen on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border at Welney today, as the Environment Agency issued 68 flood alerts and ten warnings for England, and Natural Resources Wales had 42 alerts and nine warnings out.
The Met Office issued an amber ‘be prepared’ rain warning for South Wales running throughout today, where homes and businesses are likely to be flooded and delays or cancellations to train and bus services are also likely.
Forecasters also warned that ‘fast flowing or deep floodwater is likely, causing danger to life’ in the region and said there was a ‘good chance’ communities could be cut off due to water on the roads.
Flooded fields in Carmarthenshire today after the River Towy bursts its banks following torrential rain in parts of Wales
A lorry drives through a flooded road on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border at Welney this morning
Strong waves crash against the Dorset coast at West Bay today as the Met Office issues rain warnings in the South West
Flooded fields in Carmarthenshire this afternoon as the River Towy bursts its banks and the Met Office issued a rain warning
Flood barriers go up at Bewdley in Worcester this morning as the water level of the River Severn rises
Flooded fields on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border at Welney today as motorists struggled to get through deep water
The flood defences at Bewdley this morning are precautionary because the level of the River Severn is already high
Motorists had difficulties driving along the flooded lanes in Welney this morning after the River Delph burst its banks
A stormy and dramatic sunrise off the coast of Sunderland this morning before the bad weather moves in
Power cuts to homes and businesses are also likely, with rain developing this morning and lasting for much of the day with 1.6in (40mm) to 2.4in (60mm) expected quite widely over high ground in the warning area.
The Met Office said a few places are even likely to see 3.2in (80mm) to 3.9in (100mm) with much of this falling in around nine to 12 hours before clearing eastwards, which is ‘likely’ to cause flooding and disruption to transport.
Get set for a VERY chilly December 25: Temperatures will sink below freezing on the big day… as dreams of a White Christmas fade
Britain is set for a chilly Christmas , with temperatures plunging below freezing on December 25 – but no sign of snow just yet.
The sub-zero temperatures are expected in parts of north-west England and cities including London, but a lack of moisture in the air is likely to prevent any snow from falling.
Temperatures are expected to remain mild for the rest of this week before plummeting as we move closer to Christmas.
Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin said the outlook leading to Christmas was ‘uncertain’ due to confusing pressure patterns appearing in computer-generated forecasts.
He said: ‘If you’re dreaming of a bit of snow, then there’s some good news, it does look as if it’s turning colder over the Christmas period. But of course you’ll need some moisture as well as cold for any snow.
‘It will be turning cold over Christmas, and where there are showers they will be wintery. But details of the exact pressure pattern is too early to say at this stage.’
The chilly temperatures in late December will be of particular interest to families planning to eat their Christmas meal outside.
There is a wider yellow ‘be aware’ warning for rain in the South West across Devon, Cornwall and much of the rest of Wales, which warns of a band of heavy rain moving east this morning before clearing overnight.
Many areas are expected to see 0.8in (20mm) to 1.2in (30mm), with Dartmoor likely to have 2.4in (60mm) to 3.2in (80mm). This follows plenty of rain in the area already this week, increasing the chances of flooding.
The heavy rain in the wider warning area will be accompanied by strong winds and a risk of thunderstorms, with gusts of 50mph to 60mph likely around coasts and over higher ground.
This is compared to average rainfall of 5.66in (144mm) for the whole of December in South West England and South Wales, meaning the amber area can expect nearly three weeks’ worth of rain in one day today.
CrossCounty said severe weather in the Dawlish area of Devon meant its trains were disrupted, with some northbound services starting from Exeter instead of Plymouth, and buses between Plymouth and Tiverton.
Buses also replaced Great Western Railway trains between Newquay and St Austell due to flooding on the railway.
Natural Resources Wales issued flood warnings for the River Towy at Carmarthen Quay and the River Ritec in Tenby.
The agency said checks on flood defences are under way, as well as ensuring drainage grids and screens are clear to reduce the risk to people and their homes.
Sean Moore, duty tactical manager for NRW, said: ‘The band of heavy rain spreading across parts of Wales on Friday and into Saturday is expected to bring flooding impacts and disruption to many areas of South and Mid Wales.
‘We have teams out checking defences and monitoring river levels alongside Met Office advice to forecast flood risk, and we will update our flood alerts and warnings as appropriate.
‘We are urging people to keep a close eye on weather reports and on the NRW website for details on any potential impacts in their areas. We’re also advising to take extra care when travelling as conditions could be hazardous.’
Elsewhere today, there will be some rain concentrated in Aberdeen, but a cloudy outlook with bright spells is expected for the rest of the UK with temperatures set to be mild across the country.
Met Office rain warnings for today (left) and Environment Agency flood alerts (right, in amber) and warnings (in red) today
These will range from around 9C (48F) in northern parts of Scotland to 13C (55) in Plymouth, Devon – before an overcast evening with thick cloud and outbreaks of rain across northern and western areas which will be heavy.
Overnight, rain will move east and will reach eastern areas of England by dawn. Downpours will turn showery across Scotland and will clear to clear spells in the west.
Tomorrow will be mostly dry for many with lengthy spells of winter sunshine, but there will be patchy cloud cover across northern and western areas bringing some scattered showers which may be locally heavy.
Showers will also develop across southern counties of England. The wettest weather should stay in western areas, with mild temperatures in the low teens Celsius also predicted to last throughout the weekend.
Sunday will be mostly dry and bright with lengthy spells of sunshine but there will be scattered showers, while Monday will be dull and damp with cloudy skies and outbreaks of rain spreading eastwards.
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