- River levels continue to rise in counties including Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset and Midlands
- More than 300 flood warnings or alerts for England and Wales, with the majority in Midlands and South
- Wales and South-West England will endure more rain today and tomorrow, which will be back on Sunday
- Communities along Thames warned they are at risk of and flooding continued on parts of Somerset Levels
- Eighth death during bad weather since December 23 as cyclist goes into floodwater in Wytham, Oxfordshire
Britain will be plunged into a big freeze this weekend as the ongoing rain which has flooded many areas is joined by sub-zero temperatures and snow.
The rain will continue this weekend, as river levels continue to rise in counties including Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset and the Midlands.
The Environment Agency has issued more than 300 flood warnings or alerts for England and Wales, with the majority in the Midlands and South.
Wales and South-West England are to endure more rain today and tomorrow, which will return again on Sunday – with a high chance of snow in the North.
Rising rivers include the Hampshire Avon through Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset, the Parrett in Somerset and the Severn through the Midlands.
Communities along the Thames throughout Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire were also warned they were at risk of flooding in the coming days.
Flooding continued on parts of the Somerset Levels, and there remained a risk of flooding from groundwater in Dorset, Wiltshire and West Sussex.
Laura Caldwell of MeteoGroup said: ‘There will be rain across a lot of England and Wales today and also showers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.’
The forecaster added: ‘It will all begin to clear throughout tomorrow before dry and sunny weather arrives at the weekend.
‘With that though we will have colder temperatures, dropping to below freezing on Saturday evening.
‘(We will also have) snow across the hills in north England and reaching the ground in Scotland. But come Sunday, the rain will return in the south.’
Teams from the EA were checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses and monitoring water levels to help communities.
Meanwhile, a cyclist became the eighth person to die since December 23 during the bad weather after going into floodwater in Wytham, Oxfordshire.
The man, believed to be from Oxford, was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in a serious condition but he was later pronounced dead.
Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious and that a road closure was in place between Wolvercote and Wytham, due to flooding.
Motorists are being reminded to abide by the signs and follow any official warnings at all times, a police spokesman said.
Superintendent Christian Bunt, local policing area commander for Oxford, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the man who has died.
Forecast for TOMORROW (left), SATURDAY (centre) and SUNDAY (right): Wales and the South-West will have rain today and tomorrow, which will return again on Sunday
‘This appears to be the second tragic incident in which someone has died after entering flood water in the Oxford area in the past few days.
FORECAST THROUGH TO SUNDAY
- Tonight: Isolated showers in the West will fizzle out, leaving much of the UK dry and clear. A cold night with frost in places
- Friday: Cloud and rain will spread south-eastwards after a dry and fine morning, although the South-East should remain largely dry until the end of the day
- Saturday: Rain in the South-East will clear early, while wintry showers in the North-West will disappear. A dry and sunny day for most, albeit rather chilly
- Sunday: Frosty start with early mist and fog in the North and East lifting. But cloud and rain will spread into the South-West through the afternoon. Feeling cold
‘I wish to reiterate my warning that the public should take extra care to ensure they do not put their lives at risk by entering flood water.
‘I urge anyone who finds themselves in areas affected by flooding to follow the advice of the Environment Agency.’
Paul Mustow, flood risk manager at the EA, said: ‘The risk of flooding continues this week, with communities in the south west and south east urged to stay safe and sign up to free flood warnings.
‘When flood warnings are issued it means that flooding is expected and we urge people to take immediate action to prepare.’
The latest warnings came as David Cameron said during Prime Minister’s Questions that lessons would be learned from the recent devastating weather events.
He said some energy companies did not have enough staff working over Christmas to deal effectively with power failures.
And he said Energy Secretary Ed Davey was looking at the response of the energy companies and the compensation on offer amid criticism that they were too slow to reconnect cut-off families.
The Government would update MPs within weeks, Mr Cameron added, as he confirmed that more than was being spent on flood defences in this four-year period than the previous period.
More than 1,700 homes and businesses have been flooded in England since the beginning of the Christmas period, with around 550 properties flooded since the new year. Some 140 properties have been flooded in Wales.
Flood defences protected more than 220,000 properties over Christmas and another 800,000 were protected during coastal flooding in early December.
High winds over Christmas also left 250,000 homes without power, with some families waiting days for electricity to be restored.
Mr Davey has met regulator Ofgem and the companies responsible for maintaining power supplies to discuss the storm-related power disruptions that saw 750,000 households cut off.
A review into the response to the disruption will report within two months, focusing on communications with customers, contingency plans, the resources needed to cope with widespread power cuts and compensation.
Network operators have also agreed to proactively contact customers who may be entitled to compensation, Mr Davey said.
Mr Davey said: ‘I fully understand the frustration felt by people whose Christmases were spoiled because of power disruptions, but I also want to pay tribute to the hard work of the engineers who battled appalling weather conditions to try to reconnect homes as quickly as possible.
‘Clearly, communications with customers must be at the heart of this review as in some cases households were not kept informed of what was being done to help them or when they were likely to be reconnected.’
He said the Government wanted the introduction of a single emergency number which people could call, wherever they lived, in the event of a power cut.
Meanwhile, on the trains, a landslip has occurred at Barnehurst, meaning Southeastern trains cannot run from Blackheath to Dartford via Bexleyheath.
Beach huts worth £100,000 in North Wales are devastated by flood water
Iconic beach huts that sell for more than £100,000 on the North Wales coastline have been devastated by the ferocious storms.
Most of the 150 huts were damaged, with 15 left dangling precariously and one torn from its foundations after waves ate away the sand underneath them.
The wooden huts in Abersoch village, which measure around 15ft by 15ft, are much sought after – and the most expensive one sold for £154,000.
Rob Middleton, who owns one of the huts, said: ‘My beach hut seemed to be okay after it, but the two on each side of mine were badly damaged.
‘The sea managed to really get underneath them and it’s a bit worrying now as the rest may collapse if the bad weather continues.’
Local estate agent Martin Lewthwaite said extensive repair work must be done on the huts to bring them back up to the value they were worth last year.
He said: ‘After what’s happened there is so much work to be done to them to get them safe again. It’s a great shame this has happened.
‘There are around 150 huts along the beach and all of them were damaged in some way. It’s a freak occurrence and it’s created considerable damage.’
Mr Middleton added: ‘To look at them now, it looks like they are made out of matchsticks. It’s just unbelievable what happened.’
Local councillor Wyn Williams said: ‘I was very shocked when I attended the beach this week to see what had happened.
‘I’m very thankful that no-one was hurt during this, but there is considerable damage to people’s beach huts.
Source : Daily Mail