Prime Minister David Cameron said he was shocked at the scale of the flooding in the South West and promised to “ensure everything is being done to help”.
Around 800 properties were flooded and thousands of motorists were rescued as flood water and torrential rain hit Devon and Cornwall hardest.
A 21-year-old woman camping beneath a tree in Exeter in Devon died when her tent was crushed by a falling tree – the second victim of the latest bout of bad weather.
Flooding 3ft deep was reported in parts of Malmesbury in Wiltshire.
More than 500 flood alerts were in place last night, centred on the Midlands although growing numbers were in force in Yorkshire.
Mr Cameron said on Twitter: “Shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country.
“Govt will help ensure everything is being done to help.”
In Yorkshire, concerns were growing of worse to come in the wake of problems which hit the county at the weekend.
Flash flooding hit parts of Saxton, near Tadcaster in North Yorkshire, while there were also reports of properties flooded in Birstwith, near Harrogate, and Irton, near Scarborough.
Humberside fire crews responded to a rash of calls for localised flooding including at Leconfield, Wilberfoss, Hessle, Howden and South Cave.
Roads were also affected with the A66 closed between the A1 and the A67, and the A174 Whitby to Scarborough road partially closed owing to a cliff fall at Sandsend near Raithwaite Hall.
Peasholme Gap at Scarborough and Saxton Lane to Main Street in Saxton were also closed because of flooding.
Meanwhile in Batley, a Christmas tree came down after being upended by high winds. The tree was due to have its festive lights switched on on Thursday as part of the town’s Christmas lights.
Both the RAC and AA breakdown services reported surges in flood-related call-outs as roads and highways across the country were closed owing to perilous standing water.
The AA said it had its busiest ever period for flood-related call-outs yesterday including more than 400 cars which had been driven through or stuck in floodwater.
But that did not deter many motorists from taking their chances, incurring the wrath of one emergency worker.
Nathan Hudson, general manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “People who attempt to pass through flooded roads are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of the emergency services staff who have to rescue them.”
“A little bit of common sense from the public will ensure that no one’s life is put in any unnecessary danger.”
National Rail said the severe weather was disrupting services across the South West.
Trains between Exeter and Yeovil Junction were worst hit and replacement buses were cancelled because of severe flooding on roads.