23 December 2012 - Following widespread heavy rain over the last couple of days, the Met Office and the Environment Agency are advising the public to stay aware of the latest forecasts and warnings, and be prepared for further travel disruption and flooding as the rain falls onto already saturated ground.
Bands of heavy rain have affected the UK since last Wednesday with parts of South West England, South Wales and eastern Scotland being particularly affected. Here more than 100 mm of rain has accumulated in places, bringing floods and significant disruption to travel.
Further rain is expected on Sunday evening and during Christmas Eve across southern parts of the UK bringing a further 30 mm in places, especially South West England. This will further the risk of flooding and disruption to travel.
Andy Page, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: "Following a very wet and windy weekend, there is yet more rain expected to spread from the South West this evening and during Monday. This will give 10 to 20 mm of rain quite widely across parts of England and Wales but south west England my see in excess of 30 mm in places.
"The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings which means that the public should plan ahead to take account of possible travel delays or disruption, especially as they make their way to friends and family for the Christmas period. By thinking ahead the public can be more weather aware and better prepared for severe weather."
Chief Forecaster Nick Grahame explains how we are predicting heavy rain across the UK for the Christmas getaway as well as the forecast for Christmas day.
John Curtin, Head of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said: "Our teams are out around the clock to minimise the risks and prepare for flooding, clearing drainage channels and ensuring that flood defences are working properly.
"We would urge people in at risk areas to keep up to date with the latest situation by checking the Environment Agency website and remain prepared for flooding in their area by signing up to receive free flood warnings.
"With a very busy travel weekend coming up, we would also ask that people check their route before travelling, and remember not to drive or walk through flood water."
Darron Burness, the AA's Head of Special Operations, said: "The run-up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for traffic so any bad weather can have a big impact on the roads. Even if you know your local roads, don't be complacent, as flash flooding is a real risk with so much water around. Keep tuned to local weather forecasts from the Met Office and travel reports and if it's bad where you are, only travel if it's essential. If you do head out, allow more time for your journey as you don't want to rush in conditions like this."
Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Highways Agency Traffic Management Director, said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure our roads are affected as little as possible by the adverse weather. But we urge road users to play their part by checking weather forecasts and traffic conditions before they set out, to plan their route, allow plenty of time for their journeys and drive with extra care.
"A routine incident or breakdown can become much more serious in severe weather. Broken down vehicles can cause delays for other road users and put unnecessary demands on the work of our traffic officers at this busy time of year"
The weather shows signs of becoming a little quieter for Christmas Day, with some sunshine for many central and eastern areas and showers across southern and western Britain.
Met Office Press Office: +44 (0)1392 886655
E-mail: Press Office
Met Office Customer Centre: 0870 900 0100
If you're outside the UK: +44 1392 885680
Last updated: 23 December 2012
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