Heavy rain forces road closures as flood warnings remain in place

Flood warnings are in place in multiple regions of England Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Heavy rain has forced road closures in the South West as dozens of flood warnings remain in place after wet weather plagued the country on Boxing Day.

The Environment Agency has warned of the danger of rising groundwater as 30 flood warnings remain in place in various locations in England – meaning flooding is expected – along with 99 alerts, which mean flooding is possible.

Drivers in south-west England faced delays on Friday morning after the A35, A39 and A377 were closed in Devon due to flooding.

The fire brigade had to rescue motorists from a car and a lorry that became stranded on Friday morning due to flood water and a fallen tree near Leigh Cross.

On Boxing Day night firefighters were called to Plymtree to rescue a driver who was unable to leave their car because of the height of the water.

Environment Agency flood duty manager Clare Dinnis said parts of southern England and north Lincolnshire were most at risk of flooding following prolonged spells of rain.

“While the weather outlook is improving, groundwater levels continue to rise after recent rainfall, meaning that there is a continued risk of groundwater flooding in parts of southern England over the next few days,” she said.

“We continue to monitor rainfall and river levels closely and to operate our flood defences, reducing the risk of flooding to thousands of homes and businesses and helping to keep people safe.”

The agency has been using pumps to reduce water levels at Currymoor, Somerset.

A period of high pressure is expected to come in over the weekend, bringing a dry end to the year for many.

Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said the weather on Friday will see a split, with northern parts of the UK set for more rain, while conditions in the south are expected to be drier.

Saturday’s weather is expected to be similarly split, with drier, brighter spells for England and Wales, and rain for western Scotland.

There was patchy fog on Friday morning, especially across Wales, the Midlands and south-west England.

However conditions are expected to improve and Ms Roberts added that the high pressure will “keep things fairly quiet for the next five to 10 days or so” for much of the country.