Saturday, 8 February 2014

Weather: UK Faces Atlantic Storm Battering


The UK is set to be pummelled by more heavy rain and 80mph winds as a powerful storm sweeps in from across the Atlantic Ocean.

Floods
Video: Somerset MP: We Won't Be Beaten
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Dawlish in Devon
Sky's Nick Martin reports now on how towns along Devon's coast are preparing for today's big storm.
Video: Preparing To Be Pounded By Storm
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Communities across the UK are on alert as 80mph winds and heavy rain head in from the Atlantic, threatening more flooding misery.
The South West and South Wales were the first areas to be hit, and the storm is set to continue on over southern England.
The extreme weather is likely to heap more pain on the Somerset Levels which are suffering after weeks of flooding, with residents evacuated from some crisis-hit villages.
Flooded road in Stoke St Gregory
A submerged A-road in Stoke St Gregory, Somerset (Pic: Fee Nunn)
The Met Office has issued amber severe weather warnings - meaning "be prepared" - for rain and wind across southern parts of England and Wales until Sunday.
The Environment Agency has two severe flood warnings in place - meaning "danger to life" - in the Somerset Levels.
Devon and Dorset are also at "significant risk" of new flooding, according to the agency, withe the risk peaking at around lunchtime.
In all, there are also more than 180 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts across England and Wales.
Official figures show last month was the wettest January in almost 250 years.
Senior politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron - who yesterday visited Somerset - have promised affected areas will get all the help they need.
Environment Agency flooding map
An Environment Agency map shows flood warnings across the UK
The prime minister described the scene as "biblical".
"The scale of it here in Somerset is immense when you think of how many square miles are under water," said Mr Cameron.
He also admitted the decision to stop dredging the rivers Tone and Parrett in the 1990s was wrong.
Under-fire Environment Agency boss Lord Smith was confronted by angry locals and crowds of reporters during his visit to the area on Friday.
Map showing storm heading for UK
A wind map shows the storm heading to the UK. Pic: earth.nullschool.net
However, he refused to apologise over persistent accusations he could have done much more, and said he would not be resigning.
Areas of Wales are also at risk from today's oncoming storm, says Sky News reporter Adele Robinson in Swansea.
She said: "People in the southern counties of Wales are being warned to expect some travel disruption and also to expect the possibility of disruption to power lines because of those strong winds."
The severe weather that has brought chaos to many areas is expected to continue until at least the middle of February.
Forecasters say a powerful jet stream is to blame for the relentless stormy conditions that have caused huge disruption and many millions of pounds of damage.
It has pushed an "exceptional" succession of low pressure systems across the Atlantic Ocean to Britain, the Met Office has said.

SKY NEWS

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