60mph winds to blow in: A brief respite, then gales and more rain are on their way
01:11 GMT, 26 December 2012
The wet Christmas is set to last for several more days as rain and winds of up to 60mph lash the country.
Heavy rain swept across England and Wales yesterday causing dangerous conditions for motorists and prompting further flooding fears.
Almost 500 properties have been flooded in the past week according to the Environment Agency, and flood alerts remain in place across the South West.
After hail lightning and thunder, now flooding in Danbury, Essex, on Christmas Day
Families had to abandon plans for turkey and presents to take up sandbags, mops and buckets, with some forced to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation.
Thunderstorms hit parts of London and the South East yesterday and another band of rain is expected today.
Householders and businesses along rivers including the Severn, Ouse, Trent, Avon and Thames were told to remain alert as levels continued to rise.
Temporary flood barriers were erected along the Severn at Ironbridge in Shropshire to protect homes.
The heavy downpours are expected to ease tomorrow but a further wave of rain and storms will hit the country on Friday.
Homes in the South West – already hit by flooding following weeks of torrential rain – are expected to bear the worst of the coming rain and gale force winds. Parts of the region have seen up to five inches of rain since last week.
A car is submerged in a car park for the Worcestershire race course. The River Severn in Worcestershire has burst its banks causing flooding across the region
Huntingdon Race Course in Cambridgeshire flooded on Christmas Eve which has resulted in the Boxing Day fixture being cancelled
Submerged: Properties on the south side of the River Thames, at Laleham, Middlesex
MeteoGroup forecaster Laura Caldwell said: 'Rain will continue to push up from the South West today and there will be rain almost everywhere on Friday. It will be heaviest in western areas. It will be really windy with gusts of 30 to 40mph, and in the West and North West those gusts could reach 50 to 60mph.’
Disruption to roads and train networks is expected to continue because of damage caused by flooding and landslides.
Firefighters in Essex had to rescue several motorists from their stranded cars yesterday following flooding around Ongar, Wickford and Heybridge.
Under water: A dog walker dons wellies and takes his dog for a walk despite the floods near Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire
Picturesque: Tewkesbury Abbey can be seen reflected in flood waters in Gloucestershire on Christmas Day morning
No fun: A playground close to Tewkesbury Abbey stands empty on Christmas morning after a heavy deluge on Christmas Eve left it underwater
Worcester Cathedral can be seen in the background over-looking the River Severn which was at its highest level since 2008
The Worcestershire Cricket Club pavilion is swamped by the River Severn. The river was measured at 5.25 metres
The front garden of this house in Laleham, Middlesex, on the banks of the River Thames has been completely submerged
The owners of this house in Laleham, Middlesex, may need to use their boat if they wish to leave home following the flooding
A mother and her children aged nine,
14 and 16 suffered hypothermia after they tried to save their two dogs
from the sea at Carlyon Bay near St Austell, Cornwall, on Christmas Eve.
An off-duty fireman rescued them and the dogs.
In Devon, a woman who was swept away
by floodwater in the river Taw was rescued after clinging to an
overhanging branch for an hour.
Vanessa Glover was with her husband Paul and son Silas when their pick-up truck became stranded at Umberleigh.
No way through: A couple look at a flooded Stapenhill Gardens in Burton On Trent, Staffordshire, as hopes of a white Christmas were washed out as many Britons awoke to Yuletide flooding
Not bad weather for everyone: Swans make the most of the wet weather as they paddle in Stapenhill Gardens in Burton On Trent, Staffordshire, on Christmas Day
Debris: A lost boot covered in mud following the floods which left many evacuated and many homes destroyed
Wrecked: A man inspects flood damage to his car on the high street in flood hit Stonehaven, Scotland
Clean up: A man sweeps water and mud from The Villa cafe on the High Street in Stonehaven. Many businesses and homes suffered severe damage in flooding
Mr Glover and Silas scrambled on to the back of the vehicle, but Mrs Glover lost her footing and was swept 200 yards downstream.
Met Office figures suggest 2012 will
be one of the wettest years since records began more than a century ago.
Before December, the average rainfall was 47 inches.
The wettest on record is 2000, when 53 inches fell.
Despite the weather, Christmas Day
dips went ahead. More than 1,000 revellers gathered on the beach at
Exmouth, Devon, and swimmers also took the plunge in the Serpentine in