Canoeist dies as thaw brings flooding

  • 27 January 2013
  • From the section UK
A34 at Meaford
Image caption In Staffordshire, there has been localised flooding on the A34 in Meaford

More than 80 flood warnings and nearly 300 alerts are in place across Britain as thawing snow and heavy rain push river levels higher.

Forecasters are warning of more rain this week, with south-west England particularly at risk from flooding.

In North Yorkshire, a canoeist, believed to be in his 30s, has died after he was pulled from the swollen Arkle Beck, near Reeth.

A rescue operation was launched after he became trapped in debris.

Firefighters, in boats, rescued him from the fast-flowing beck - which flows into the River Swale - and he was transported by air ambulance to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service later said he had died "despite everyone's best efforts".

In other developments:

The Environment Agency said rain falling on already saturated ground was likely to lead to more disruption on the roads this week.

It also warned that properties could flood, particularly in the south-west of England on Tuesday.

It said some river levels were yet to peak.

"Emergency teams from the Environment Agency have been out in force this weekend shoring up flood defences, monitoring river levels and clearing blockages from watercourses, and they will continue their work on the ground to reduce the risk of flooding throughout the week," a spokesman said.

In England and Wales, there are 81 flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected with "immediate action required" - and 288 flood alerts, which mean flooding "is possible - be prepared".

There are no flood warnings in Scotland, although there are 13 flood alerts.

The BBC's Darren Bett said the thaw of snow had continued on Sunday with a mixture of sunshine and showers and that river levels had risen throughout the day.

Some heavy showers, as well as hail and gusty wind, would continue overnight, particularly in the southern counties of England and north-west Scotland, he said.

The Met Office has a issued yellow "be aware" warning - for Monday afternoon and evening - for heavy rain in south-west England.

A further yellow warning for heavy rain has been issued for the whole of Tuesday for south-west England and parts of Wales.

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