Yet more storms on way for parts of battered UK

The UK is enduring the worst series of winter storms in more than 20 years, weather experts say, as the country prepares for even more flooding.

The waves at Cleveleys, Lancashire as stormy weather continues across parts of the country.

Strong winds, persistent rain and tidal waves are predicted to batter the UK for at least another two days, as emergency services attempt to cope with the trail of devastation already created by the severe weather.

The Environment Agency has issued 73 flood warnings throughout England and Wales which urge people to take immediate action, while a further 218 areas are on flood alert.

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Coastal areas, particularly in southern England, are most at risk as they cope with unusually high tides and the aftermath of another Atlantic storm yesterday.

The waves at Cleveleys, Lancashire as stormy weather continues across parts of the country.

Forecaster Matt Dobson for MeteoGroup said the rain “simply has nowhere to go” after weeks of severe weather has saturated the ground and swelled rivers.

“It’s very unusual to have so many powerful storms come in one after the other in such a short space of time – we haven’t seen anything like this since about 1991,” he said.

“The nasty weather of the last few days is going to continue across the UK, with the combination of high tides and a powerful storm putting coastal areas particularly at risk.

“Any rain will mean more flooding as the ground is saturated and swollen rivers are coming up against strong waves.”

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings of ice and rain, predicting river and surface flooding as well as travel disruption mainly in South Wales and the South West and South East. Up to 40mm of rain could fall on higher ground.

Inland rainfall will put pressure on rivers, endangering nearby communities including those along the River Medway in Kent, the River Thames in Oxford and Osney and the River Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire.

The Thames barrier will remain closed to protect land near the river.

To date, more than 200 homes have been flooded from Cornwall to Scotland, with miles of coastline battered and roads and fields across the country left under water.

Meanwhile, searches have resumed in south Devon for missing 18-year-old university student Harry Martin, who was last seen leaving his home to take photographs of the weather. More than 100 people have volunteered to look for him.

Two people have already died as a direct result of the storms. A 27-year-old man from Surrey was found on Porthleven Sands beach in Cornwall after he was swept out to sea on New Year’s Eve night, and a woman died after being rescued from the sea in Croyde Bay, north Devon.

A third victim died after his mobility scooter fell into a river in Oxford. Police are treating the 47-year-old man’s death as unexplained but they believe he fell into Osney Lock on Saturday after he drove his scooter along a flooded pathway.

In Cornwall, a man and child were almost swept away by a huge wave at Mullion Cove as they peered over the sea wall to watch the raging sea.

Police pulled a man from the sea who had been drinking at Towan Beach, Newquay, after he had ignored warnings about the fierce storms and in Aberystwyth, Wales, a man was rescued by lifeboat after he became trapped when photographing waves from a harbour jetty.

Emergency services rescued four people from a flooded farm in Llanbedr near Barmouth, North Wales, the River Severn burst its banks in Gloucestershire for the second day running and a pregnant woman was rescued after 30 properties were flooded in Cardigan, mid-Wales.

The coastal surge in recent days has tested over 3,000km of flood defences in England and over 205,000 properties have been protected.