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Communities count cost of flooding

A boy stands in water as floodwater covers the streets in the centre of York as River Ouse burst its banks. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Flood-hit communities across the UK are counting the cost of torrential downpours that left homes under water and one man dead.

The worst of the weather, in which a month's worth of rain pelted parts of the country in just 24 hours, is now thought to be over.

But forecasters say that rain will continue to fall in heavy bursts across the whole country for at least another week.

Devon was worst hit yesterday as three severe flood warnings were issued, while a man was killed in Northumberland when his car crashed off a rain-soaked road.

A shed lies overturned in flood water outside a property near Yealmpton on the River Yealm, after heavy rainfall. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Environment Secretary has met with flood victims who saw a deluge of water come through their village during yesterday's floods.

Flood-hit communities across the UK are counting the cost of the torrential downpours that left homes under water and one man dead.

Caroline Spelman was visiting Ottery St Mary, near Exeter, which saw some of its main roads turn into rivers after a month's worth of rain fell in just 24 hours.

Devon was the worst hit area as three severe flood warnings were issued and today a huge clean-up operation is under way in the South and East of the county.

Ottery St Mary has seen previous devastating floods and has since had a number of flood defences put in place.

Ms Spelman stopped at different locations around the village and talked to people about how effective these measures were during yesterday's downpour.

One of the culverts she was taken to protected 60 nearby properties from water entering their homes.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman meets local residents Philip Nolwenn and Luke Nolwenn after flooding in Ottery St Mary, Devon Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Billy Payne, a forecaster for Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "The worst of the showers today are going to be across East Anglia, Lincolnshire and the South East, with longer spells of rain mixed in there as well.

"There will also be outbreaks of rain for northern and western Scotland and Northern Ireland as well."

After more than two inches of rain fell in just 18 hours in Devon yesterday, the Environment Agency put parts of the Rivers Yealm, Axe and Burton on the highest grade flood warning, meaning they pose a "danger to life".

Residents and emergency services in Yealmbridge, Devon, were left with a huge clean-up operation after homes were overwhelmed with up to six feet of water when the Yealm burst through sandbags put in place in a bid to bolster its flood defences.

Floodwater covers the streets in the centre of York. Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Muddy water marks streaked across houses, and tarmac on one of the roads in the small hamlet was ripped up under the weight of water that cascaded down the road.

Firefighters and teams from the Environment Agency were on the scene pumping water from around the white semi-detached houses.

Terrified villagers spoke of waking up to torrents of water raging through the streets.

Fourteen-year-old Mia Leech described "floods and floods of the river coming down the lane".She said: "By the time we got half the stuff upstairs the water was already up to our necks and past our heads."

Water flowed over car roofs, the fridge was knocked over and furniture had been moved around.

"My little brother was scared and I had a friend sleeping over and we were both just traumatised, we couldn't go downstairs," she added.

A member of the Fire services mans the pump outside a property near Yealmpton. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In nearby Yealmpton around 40 homes and 75 residents on one side of the river were affected as water gushed into houses.

The river reached a record high of seven and a half feet, the Environment Agency said.

Villager Tony Stearn said he had not seen anything like the flooding in 26 years.

"We were fairly fortunate as we are actually a bit raised up here, so luckily we were within about six inches of the house actually getting flooded, but the water level was tremendously up," the 61-year-old retail business manager said.

"It's normally only about 18 inches deep at this time of year."

Emergency services get to work in Devon. Credit: Emma Hallet/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Some residents were evacuated and were being sheltered in a local rescue centre, while others chose to stay in their homes.

Elsewhere, residents in the Leicestershire village of Sheepy Magna were evacuated from their homes after flooding.

The road crash victim in Northumberland, who was in his early 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision in East Tynedale, Northumberland, at 12.25am.

And two people stranded on top of their car near the River Brid in Dorset were rescued by coastguard rescue teams, as was a man stranded in his wheelchair in water at Burton Bradstock, also Dorset.

Brendan Jones, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "The summer so far has seen a colossal amount of rain and the last 24 hours have been no exception."

He said Dunkeswell in Devon had two inches (53mm) of rain between 6pm on Friday and midday yesterday, while Exeter saw 1.7 inches (43mm) in the same time frame.

Turning to the coming week and beyond, he said: "There is some good news.

"The next couple of days aren't going to be as bad as the last couple of days. The heavy rain in the South at the moment is going to pass overnight.

"There will be sunshine and showers for just about the whole country. The showers will be heavy and there will be thunderstorms as well."

Floodwater covers the streets in the centre of York. Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Environment Agency said there were no parts of England and Wales with a high or medium risk of flooding today, with most regions at a low risk.

For Monday, England and Wales were put at a "very low risk".

The outlook is not looking summery until mid-July at the earliest, according to the Meteogroup forecaster.

"We are fairly confident what the weather is going to do in the next seven to 10 days," Mr Jones said.

"I don't think the showers on Tuesday are going to be as heavy as they are on Sunday and Monday.

"But on Thursday, Friday and possibly into the weekend we are just going to see the return of the heavy showers.

"Not in the next 10 days is there anything resembling reasonable summer conditions."

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