25 Nov 2012

Severe flood warnings issued for Britain

1:40 pm on 25 November 2012

People in southwest England have been told to leave their homes as authorities warn floodwaters from torrential rain seriously threaten life and property.

The Environment Agency has issued severe flood warnings for Helston, Polperro and Perranporth, in Cornwall, as rivers threaten to burst their banks.

Special "rest centres" were set up in the worst-hit villages allowing families to take shelter overnight as the floodwater surged through the rural West Country, PA reports.

Emergency services, rescue crews and the Environment Agency met council bosses on Saturday night in an effort to spread the message about the danger, following nearly four days of uninterrupted rainfall.

Across the region, roads were closed for safety reasons and others were impassable as rain saturated highways, and debris blocked lanes.

The severe flood warnings, its highest alert, were issued amid concern that lives were at risk.

The fishing port of Polperro has a history of being susceptible to flooding, with many properties in the area having sandbags ready following years of being at flood risk.

People in Mevagissey, Cornwall, were also dealing with flood problems as water surged through the winding streets and crept into homes.

For many, this week's flooding came with barely a few days' respite since the last deluge.

Heavy rainfall began on Wednesday, presenting those in the worst-affected areas with little chance to clear up before further downpours.