Flood warnings across UK

Flood warnings and alerts remain in place across the country as forecasters predict more wet weather. 2012 looks set to become the wettest year on record for the UK.

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8,000 homes and businesses were flooded last year

Almost 8,000 homes and businesses were flooded last year as the UK was repeatedly battered by heavy rain, storms and floods. But 2012 began with a number of water companies imposing hosepipe bans as swathes of England faced drought following two dry winters.

The dry weather then gave way to persistent rain, with the UK experiencing a record April and June, and the wettest summer in a century.

Farmers' crops were hit by the unusually wet summer, while the UK's wildlife struggled in poor conditions, with only a few species including slugs and orchids thriving. The Met Office said changes in sea surface temperatures and a reduction of Arctic sea ice could be helping to increase rainfall.

Flood defences studied in Worcestershire

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson with MP for West Worcestershire Harriett Baldwin and members of the Environment Agency Credit: David Jones/PA Wire
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson studying the flood defences at Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson toured Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire with MP Harriett Baldwin, studying the town's successful flood defences.

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Environment Secretary celebrates Upton upon Severn flood defences

Owen Paterson in Upton upon Severn
Owen Paterson in Upton upon Severn Credit: ITV Central

The Environment Secretary has celebrated the successful flood scheme recently opened in Upton upon Severn during a tour of the town.

The two flood defence schemes which have protected houses and businesses for the first time this winter cost £4.5m.

Mr Paterson toured the town with MP Harriett Baldwin. Both MPs paid tribute to the work of the Environment Agency for their work in helping people threatened by the bad weather.

Ouse and Thames pose biggest flooding threat

Flooding in Ironbridge
Gardens in Ironbridge, Shropshire, have been flooded after the Severn burst its banks. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Riverside communities along the Ouse in Yorkshire and Thames are among those most at risk from expected floods, the Environment Agency has said.

Groundwater levels are high in Berkshire, South Gloucestershire and parts of Lincolnshire and temporary flood defences remain in place along the Severn, including at Ironbridge and Upton.

Work is also taking place to ensure that rivers can drain and flow freely in other parts of southern England, including Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, West and East Sussex, the Environment Agency has said.

Click here to read how bad weather battered Britain in 2012.

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Yorkshire battles floods after Ouse spills over its banks

The River Ouse in central York, which has flooded several times in the past few weeks, is currently more than 13ft (4m) above its average summer level after spilling over its banks again.

Flooding in York city centre.
Pumps have been used to help stop water from flooding homes in York city centre. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Pumps were being used to clear water from pubs, restaurants, homes and hotels along its banks today.

Flood pumps
The pumps were brought in after the River Ouse spilled over its banks. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Many of the businesses hit were in the process of being renovated, having been shut since November's deluge.

Pub
The Ship Inn Pub in Acaster Malbis, near York, has been cut off in the flooding. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

More than 500 UK homes flooded in past two weeks

Latest figures from the Environment Agency show that around 530 properties have flooded since December 19. The agency has also sent more than 136,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding and its 'Floodline' has received around 39,000 calls for help and advice.

Flooded gardens in Ironbridge, Shropshire as the river Severn burst its banks. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Despite the improving weather conditions, the agency says there is still a risk of localised flooding over the next few days, as river and groundwater levels are still high.

People make their way along a flooded road in Naburn, York. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Currently there are 72 flood warnings in place in the UK and 104 flood alerts. For further details visit the Environment Agency's website.

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