8 Sep 2008

Flood fears ease in Britain after fatal storm

10:16 pm on 8 September 2008

More rain is forecast throughout Britain early this week, although the risk of flooding is much lower than at the weekend when storms killed at least six people and forced hundreds from their homes, authorities said.

It has been the wettest summer in Britain since records began in 1914, according to the Met Office.

The Environment Agency said many flood warnings across England and Wales were being downgraded as the threat from swollen rivers eased.

"River levels are slowly starting to come down, so we're expecting the general situation to improve significantly over the next 48 hours," an agency spokesman said. "We are not expecting any more severe flood warnings to be issued."

The Met Office forecast a day of sunny spells and some rain, although the showers will be nothing like the downpours that lashed Britain at the weekend.

Rivers burst their banks, houses were flooded and drivers faced dangerous conditions on the roads as a month's rain fell in 24 hours in some regions.

One of the worst affected places was the market town of Morpeth in Northumberland where the River Wansbeck reached its highest level in decades, flooding hundreds of homes. An RAF rescue helicopter pulled several residents to safety.

In Stroud, Gloucestershire, a 27-year-old man working in a trench was killed when part of it collapsed on him.

A 17-year-old girl died in Powys, Wales, when her car overturned in a river, while a couple were killed in a car crash in heavy rain in Plymouth, Devon.

A motorcyclist from Sheffield died when he hit a branch blown onto the A66 in North Yorkshire. In Cornwall, a swimmer in his 20s drowned in rough seas at Perranporth beach.