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article imagePower cuts as gale force winds & torrential downpours hit Britain

By Anne Sewell     Nov 22, 2012 in Environment
Britain has been hit with flooding, as gale force winds and torrential downpours go into a second day on Thursday, leaving thousands without electricity.
According to the Guardian, the south-west is the worst hit and flood warnings are in place. A band of heavy rain accompanied by winds of up to 70mph stretched across much of the country from the north-west, bringing with it chaos. Currently some 2,500 homes in England and Wales are without power as lines were brought down by the high winds, and dozens of schools had to be closed.
The video shows flooding in Wellington in Somerset, as more than 30mm of rain fells in some parts of the region on Wednesday. Streams and rivers, still swollen from downpours earlier in the autumn, overflowed their banks.
Trains between Somerset and Devon had to be cancelled or delayed due to part of the track being flooded. Also a train hit a branch which had fallen over the railway line.
On the Somerset Levels, an RNLI lifeboat stood by, in case more rain, combined with a high tide, led to severe flooding. Across Somerset, councils were asked to turn village halls into makeshift shelters, in case residents needed evacuation.
In Devon itself, people in Halberton were evacuated after part of the 200-year-old Great Western Canal crumbled, causing water to pour into the fields. In the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, three cars were damaged as a roof blew off a mosque, luckily with no injuries to passersby.
According to Paul Gundersen, Deputy Chief Forecaster with the Met Office, "The current unsettled spell of weather is set to continue with further spells of heavy rain expected across the country over the next few days."
"There has been some torrential rain and squally winds on Thursday as a cold front moved across the UK, but another deep depression developing off Iberia will head towards us for the weekend. This is expected to bring more heavy rain and strong to gale force winds to many parts of the country."
With more than 80 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, by Thursday night, the Met Office is forecasting the potential for gusts of 60 to 70mph for south-eastern coastal counties of England overnight Saturday and into Sunday. 36 of the flood warnings were for the south-west, 29 for the Midlands. On top of this there have been more than 180 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible.
Environment Agency area flood risk manager, Ian Tomes, said: "We have mobilized teams across the country to check on flood defenses, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels."
"We will do everything we can to warn and inform people about the risk of flooding from rivers but we cannot always prevent it, so people need to take action to prepare now."
In Cumbria, the Environment Agency has issued flood warnings for the River Caldew at Cummersdale in Carlisle and Keswick Campsite. A warning for the River Ehen at Egremont, Bleach Green, Ennerdale Mill, Springfield Road, Vale View, Wood Bank and Bridge area has apparently been lifted.
The Mirror has a photo gallery of images of the flooding.
More about United Kingdom, England, Flooding, Floods, Heavy rains
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