Environment Agency issues flood warnings for the west

Flood warnings have been issued for the west and south west of England as heavy rain approaches the area.

Parts of Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Devon are at risk as slow-moving bands of heavy rain fall on already saturated ground.

The Environment Agency currently has five flood warnings in the south west, for areas on the rivers Parrett, Axe, Dart and Char.

Across England there were 37 less serious flood alerts in place.

"The Met Office is growing increasingly concerned that the heavy rain to come will have a considerable impact on already saturated ground," said BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson.

"The main rain is yet to arrive. From midnight onwards it will be the heaviest and it will last until rush hour."

'Strong winds'

He also warned that Thursday's strong winds were a major concern, perhaps gusting up to 70mph at times.

"Crosswind elements will be an issue for Severn Crossings for sure and I suspect at Bristol Airport," he added.

"Damage to trees is likely and perhaps some structural effects too.

"Heavy, squally rain will follow from the west later into the evening and again, some high rainfall totals will add to issues that develop through the next 12 hours or so."

The Environment Agency said teams had been "mobilised to check on flood defences, clear river blockages and monitor water levels".

"We are looking at 15 to 30mm (0.6 to 1.2 inches) quite widely across that area and up to 40mm (1.6 inches) in the worst-hit areas," said a spokesman.

"There's pretty saturated ground following the rain around today, so there's the possibility of seeing some localised flooding."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites