Britain begins the clean up operation after devastating floods as Environment Agency issues another 350 alerts for areas at risk

Families flee condemned terraced houses after flooding causes landslide as Britain begins huge clean-up operationSeven homes in Whitby will be demolished over the next 48 hours after gardens fell away threatening foundationsResidents given just 48 hours to move essential items out of their housesNumber of flood warnings across the rest of the country expected to fall throughout todayEnvironment Agency: 'We are over the worst in terms of flooding'Pumps continue to remove water from behind St Asaph flood defences
Dry weather expected throughout today across the UKLocalised flooding expected along Trent, Severn and Thames rivers

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 28 November 2012

Seven houses will be demolished within two days after the ground beneath them disappeared when raging torrents of water caused a massive landslide.

The 150-year-old row of terraced houses in Whitby, North Yorkshire, will have to be torn down after their gardens became saturated by rainfall and slipped away last night.

However, despite being given two days notice residents have been told only to take essential items and the rest of their property will go with the houses.

The former jetworkers' cottages were not damaged but it is feared their foundations have been compromised and further subsidence could pose a threat to other houses.

A row of Victorian houses has been condemned after their gardens fall away sparking fears that the foundations would give way after heavy rainfall

A row of Victorian houses has been condemned after their gardens fall away sparking fears that the foundations would give way after heavy rainfall

Alan Tomlinson, who runs a holiday let from one of the houses where he used to live, said: 'It's heartbreaking to see it just like this. It's lucky that it didn't happen in the middle of the day and there was nobody in it.'

'It's so fast, we're reeling a bit. We have fond memories of the place, we've had good times there.'

An emergency meeting was held at the harbour master's office on Tuesday afternoon, where shocked home-owners were informed that their properties were set to be demolished.

Residents have been left devastated after they were told they could only remove essential items from their homes before they are knocked down

Residents have been left devastated after they were told they could only remove essential items from their homes before they are knocked down

Independent contractors compiled a report condemning the buildings, which has been corroborated by Scarborough Borough Council's own engineers. There was also a fear that any further slippage could put properties below – including homes and businesses – at risk.

Mr Tomlinson explained that he has now lost a profitable business, and while he will be able to claim insurance on the property, he still expects to make a substantial loss – and with the house attracting bookings across 40 weeks each year, a large amount of income has been taken away.

He believes that the cause of the landslip was flawed drainage works completed by Yorkshire Water a decade ago.

He said: 'We discovered about three years ago that they hadn't connected rain water pipes correctly so we had six or seven years of rain coming off the roof, straight into the ground. But we've been fighting with Yorkshire Water and they are denying it.'

The incident also raised fears for the adjacent Elbow Terrace, owned by Yorkshire Coast Homes, but engineers gave that structure the all-clear. Other residents have speculated that many more buildings in the area may be at risk.

They said that when the Abbey car park was constructed, excess soil was dumped above The Ropery. This formed a layer of clay that prevents water from soaking into the ground.

Water instead remains at the surface and flows downhill – causing additional flooding to properties.

Hundreds of flood warnings remained in place across England and Wales this morning as flood-ravaged towns woke up to another day of devastation.

Although the weather has improved for much of the UK overnight, the Environment Agency last night said there was still a possibility of more flooding and disruption for the next 48 hours.

In north Wales hundreds of people spent the night away from their homes after parts of the River Elwy yesterday burst in banks and breached flood barriers, devastating properties.

The river is now flowing within its banks, albeit higher than normal, and water is being pumped from behind flood defences back into the river.

The EA warned of a risk of flooding in
Gloucester, Salisbury, Oxford, Sunbury, Abingdon and York, while mobile
flood defences have been erected in Shrewsbury and Bewdley in
Worcestershire.

Land around Burton upon Trent has been flooded but the river is not expected to cause the same problems as it did further upstream

Land around Burton upon Trent has been flooded but the river is not expected to cause the same problems as it did further upstream

Land around Branston Gold and Country Club was under water as the huge volumes of water continue along the River Trent throughout today

Land around Branston Gold and Country Club was under water as the huge volumes of water continue along the River Trent throughout today

A map shows how much rain has fallen across the UK over the last eight days

This map shows the difference between the weather of the last seven days and the average rainfall for November

The map to the left shows just how much rain has fallen across the UK
while the one on the right shows the average rainfall for the same
period in November. Many parts experienced nearly double the average
amount

It highlighted areas around slow-responding rivers including the Thames, Trent and the Severn were at particular risk.

A
spokesman for the Environment Agency said: 'Levels in the Severn will
continue to peak throughout the day with isolated flooding, but we are
over the worst.

'We
are keeping a close eye on the bigger rivers and in North Wales we have a
few teams getting the water from behind the flood defences.'

Some
173 flood warnings and 184 flood alerts are still in place across
England and Wales, along with two severe flood warnings in the
devastated city of St Asaph, Denbighshire and around Rhuddlan, both in
north Wales.

Like a dog to water: This dog seems to be enjoying the weather after retrieving a large stick from the flood waters

Like a dog to water: This dog seems to be enjoying the weather after retrieving a large stick from the flood waters

A Hereford cow has had its available pasture vastly diminished by the rising flood waters on the banks of the River Trent

A Hereford cow has had its available pasture vastly diminished by the rising flood waters on the banks of the River Trent

Gemma Plumb of MeteoGroup, said the weather is expected to remain mainly dry for most of the UK today and throughout the week, with any showers predicted to be significantly lighter than recent days.

The Met Office issued this map showing where cold weather is expected over the next few days

The Met Office issued this map showing where cold weather is expected over the next few days

She added that the weather will turn cold, dropping to below freezing at night. But more severe weather could be on the way.

She said: 'There are hints that from Sunday some persistent and heavy rain could come across from the west over the UK, preceded by some snow.'

North Wales Police last night said an inquest had been opened and adjourned after the body of an elderly woman was discovered inside a flooded home.

The woman was discovered at noon by officers conducting hour-to-house checks in the Tair Felin area.

Officers said there were no suspicious circumstances and her death was being treated as unexplained.

In
the tiny Welsh city of St Asaph, Denbighshire hundreds of residents
fled their waterlogged homes when the River Elwy reached record levels
and burst through flood defences.

Five hundred people living in
what is one of Britain’s smallest cities, with a population of around
3,400, were encouraged to pack their bags yesterday and move in with
friends or family until the risk subsided.

St
Asaph Leisure Centre was transformed into an evacuation centre where
about 150 people gathered for shelter, including people with babies.

Cafe assistant Heidi Chaplin, 31, said the atmosphere was mixed but most people were 'a bit down'.

'Seven
feet of water came in at some places and people were boat-lifted out of
their windows with babies crying,' she said. 'It was terrible for them,
really sad.'

Prime Minister David Cameron visited
flood-ravaged homes in Buckfastleigh, Devon, where he told residents the
Government would do everything to 'help them with the recovery'.

Mother-of-two
Helen Ross, 37, who works at a local school in St Asaph, said the water
level reached more than a foot above her floorboards, causing extensive
damage to her living and dining rooms and kitchen.

'I have lived here nine years and I never seen the river cause flooding like this,' she said.

'My
husband phoned me at 7am to say parts of the city were being evacuated.
I looked out of the window and there was water over the road and then,
within an hour, it was in the house.'

Wiping away tears she added: 'We’ve lost everything downstairs. It’s heartbreaking.'

A 92-year-old local man was rescued by British Red Cross volunteers yesterday after he became trapped in his house.

Three other people have died since the latest bout of wet weather struck.

A
man killed when his 4×4 was submerged after getting wedged under a
bridge in Somerset was reported yesterday to have been John McNair, a
77-year-old grandfather of 10.

The Evening Standard reported that Mr McNair, the former chairman of the East Lewisham Conservative Association in London, was on his way home to his farm in Painscastle, Powys, after visiting his son in the village of Chew Stoke when he died on Thursday.

Mr Cameron yesterday promised to take a 'tough approach' on negotiations with insurers over homes in danger of flooding.

Up to 200,000 high risk properties could be priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the then Labour government and insurers ends next summer.

Tewkesbury Abbey once again became the icon of flooding after the town was hit for a second time this year

Tewkesbury Abbey once again became the icon of flooding after the town was hit for a second time this year

After meeting householders in Buckfastleigh, which was struck by flash flooding at the weekend, he said: 'It is obviously very traumatic when communities are hit by flooding like this but what I found are people are incredibly steadfast and have behaved incredibly bravely at handling the flood and now we need to help them with the recovery.

'We have to make sure their insurance pays out, make sure the Environment Agency puts in place good flood defences, make sure there are better warning schemes.'

Large swathes of the Riverside cricket ground next to the River Wear in Chester-le-Street, where England will play Australia next summer, were under water today.

There was disruption for thousands of drivers and train services were subject to hold-ups and reduced services in the West Country and the North East.

Councils have placed thousands of tonnes of sandbags, water pumps and emergency accommodation at the ready and some have even been loaning washing machines, cookers and fridges to those whose homes have been devastated.

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