Severe weather warning issued for the South

A red alert over bad weather expected during this afternoon and overnight has been issued.

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Harry joins Spitfire veterans for scholarship launch

Battle of Britain veterans were transported back to their days as pilots when Prince Harry climbed into the cockpit of a Spitfire and started the engine during the launch of a flight scholarship for injured ex-servicemen.

The war veterans attended the Boultbee Flight Academy in Goodwood, West Sussex, today, to give their support to the Spitfire Flight Scholarship.

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PM praises 'huge efforts' involved to protect homes

The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee this evening, as flood misery is set to continue in the coming days. David Cameron said in a statement:

The extent of the extreme weather this winter is clear. The Thames barrier has been in operation for over 30 years and yet one quarter of all its total closures have happened in the last three months.

I was reassured that all the agencies involved – thousands of people locally and nationally – have made huge efforts over last few days to protect more homes and businesses, with over 3,000 of our troops deployed on task tonight and many hundreds more on standby.

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Prince Harry fires engine of Spitfire during Sussex visit

Prince Harry climbed into the cockpit of a Spitfire and started the engine during a visit to the Boultbee Flight Academy in West Sussex this afternoon.

Prince Harry climbed into the cockpit of a Spitfire and started the engine.
Prince Harry climbed into the cockpit of a Spitfire and started the engine. Credit: Press Association

He was there to lend his support to the launch of a flight scholarship for injured ex-servicemen.

More: William and Harry's 'private effort' to help flooded town

Hundreds of military personnel remain in the South as flooding continues

Flooded street
A military vehicle drives through a flooded street in Surrey Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of military personnel remain in the South, helping to protect homes from the floods.

Around 100 soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are still in Wraysbury, Berkshire, while more than 300 military personnel remain in Windsor, Datchet and Bisham, the MoD said.

In Chertsey, servicemen and women from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment have been helping place a 600-metre Aquadam flood barrier brought over from Sweden.

More than 360 military personnel continue to provide relief in Surrey, while more than 4,000 sandbags were distributed across Hampshire this morning, according to the MoD.

Kent Police said properties remained at risk of flooding in Yalding, Collier Street, East Peckham, Kingston, Patrixbourne, Elham, Bridge, Littlebourne, Bishopsbourne, Wickhambreaux, Lydd, and from Wye to Ashford.

Soldiers from 5 Scots and 36 Engineer Regiment are also working in Kent.

Lieutenant Colonel James Senior, from the Light Dragoons, said: "My soldiers are deployed throughout the region in support of the civil authorities and will be here until the crisis has abated."

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PM warns: We face more flooding yet

Flooding
The work continues to protect homes from flooding Credit: PA Wire

David Cameron has warned that the flooding crisis is likely to get worse even though Britain is set for a respite from the winter storms.

The Prime Minister said while the weather was due to improve, the sheer volume of rain over recent weeks meant groundwater levels would keep rising in places.

Prince William
Prince William helps military efforts to protect homes Credit: PA Wire

The comments came as power firms struggled to reconnect homes after the latest downpours.

Despite weather forecasters predicting an "improving picture" with lighter winds and less rain, the Environment Agency (EA) said parts of southern, south west and central England remain at risk of flooding.

Mr Cameron, who visited flood-hit Chertsey in Surrey before chairing the Government's Cobra emergency committee this evening, said the next 24 hours would be "vital" as river levels were set to rise again.

"Thankfully, it does appear that we will see less rain and wind over the next few days," he said."However, after so much rain over recent weeks, groundwater levels remain very high and in many places will continue to rise."

The EA said it had closed the Thames Barrier for a record 16th consecutive time to help lower river levels.

Yellow "be aware" weather warnings of icy driving conditions are now in place for most of the UK. Across the south of England, there are also warnings of heavy rain.

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