Downpours bring flash flood warning

Dorset Echo: The Environment Agency has issued flood warnings in parts of England and Wales after heavy downpours The Environment Agency has issued flood warnings in parts of England and Wales after heavy downpours

Heavy rain has prompted warnings of possible flash flooding across England and Wales.

The Environment Agency has issued eight flood warnings for south west England after some areas saw up to 50mm of rain (two inches) on Tuesday night and the next morning, and said there had been some localised surface water flooding in Devon and Cornwall.

There are also 21 flood alerts in the south west and two in the south east of England in the face of the downpours. The Environment Agency also warned that further heavy rain forecast for the end of the week could lead to localised flooding in the north west, the Midlands and Wales.

The agency has previously warned that the drought gripping swathes of England could increase the risk of flash flooding as rain is less easily absorbed by dry, compacted soils, instead running off and causing localised floods.

And while the rain may be welcome for gardeners and farmers in drought-affected areas, the downpours are not enough to alleviate the drought that stems from two unusually dry winters in a row.

Forecasters at Meteogroup said the weather looked set to remain unsettled for at least the next week, with heavy showers and some more persistent rain.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Parts of the South West have seen up to 50mm of rain, and there has been some localised surface water flooding in Devon and Cornwall.

"On Thursday further heavy showers could bring the risk of further localised flooding in Wales, the Midlands and the North West. We are keeping the situation under constant review and will issue additional flood warnings if necessary."

Meanwhile, strong winds have brought down scaffolding and seriously damaged at least four cars.

Police said no-one was injured when the structure fell at the Royal Beach Hotel on Southsea seafront in Portsmouth. Structural engineers are now checking the site, which had the scaffolding up to the fifth floor so the hotel could be painted.

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