Dec 30 2012
Homeowners are being warned of the risk of further flooding over the next 48 hours as what is likely to be the wettest year on record comes to a soggy end.
Heavy rain is expected to fall across much of the country on Sunday night and on Monday, with revellers at outdoor New Year's Eve celebrations advised to take an umbrella. Forecasters said the new year should bring some drier weather, with most of the rain expected to have stopped by the early hours of New Year's Day.
Although the past couple of weeks of almost relentless downpours look to be coming to an end, the Environment Agency warned that rain over the next couple of days could lead to more flooding in areas where the ground is already saturated and rivers and groundwater levels are still high.
It currently has 191 flood alerts and 79 flood warnings in place. They follow hundreds of other alerts issued this month, as several days' worth of rain fell in a few hours at its worst, contributing to a year of bad weather which has left the UK on the brink of its wettest since records began in 1910.
Homes have been evacuated and weary commuters and travellers forced to find alternative routes or abandon their plans altogether as sections of Britain's transport network ground to a halt.
Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said nowhere would escape a soaking over the next day and a half. He said: "Heavy rain will be pushing eastwards across most of the UK through tonight and into tomorrow, so all parts of the country will see some rain. The most persistent heavy rain will be confined to the south-east corner of England - East Anglia, the South East and London, but it will be letting up by midnight and it should be dry by the early hours.
"There will still be some showers after this, but they will be lighter and in more western areas."
Environment Agency teams are continuing to monitor river levels, clear river channels and ensure flood defences are working properly, and have erected mobile flood barriers in cities and towns such as Oxford, Worcester, Shrewsbury and Bewdley. Larger rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Wye are likely remain high for several days.
Environment Agency flood risk manager Katharine Evans said: "With more heavy rain forecast, it is still as important as ever to be prepared for flooding, keep up to date with the latest warnings and, if you are at risk, to move valuable items to safety. Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect communities from flooding, and we would urge people to stay safe by not walking or driving through flood water."
According to the Met Office just 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed to fall by the end of tomorrow to make this year the wettest on record for the UK overall, with a new record already set for England with 43.1in (1,095.8mm) falling between January 1 and Boxing Day.