Floods fear as more rain forecast

Herald Series: The ford at Thornford Road in Compton Wood, Hampshire, where a man and a dog died after a car was submerged in fast-flowing flood waters The ford at Thornford Road in Compton Wood, Hampshire, where a man and a dog died after a car was submerged in fast-flowing flood waters

Parts of England and Wales are braced for more heavy rain and potential flooding after a weekend of storms left one person dead.

A man and a dog died when the car they were travelling in became completely submerged in "5ft of fast-flowing water" as it drove across a flooded ford in Hampshire.

And with up to 20mm to 30mm (0.8in to 1.2in) of rain forecast for southern England, the Environment Agency is on "high alert" for flooding amid fears already-saturated river catchments will struggle to cope with more downpours.

This month is already the wettest April across the UK in records dating back a century to 1910, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.

The figures up to April 29 showed an average of 121.8mm had fallen (4.8 inches) so far this month, almost double the long term average for April of 69.6mm (2.7 inches) and beating the previous record of 120.3mm (4.7 inches) set in 2000.

There are 36 flood warnings in place, including 20 in the South West and a handful each in the Midlands, North East and East Anglia. There were also more than 150 less serious flood alerts.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said they remained on high alert for flooding into Tuesday across southern England but particularly in Somerset, Dorset and Devon.

The Environment Agency said only 20 properties had been flooded across the country, while thousands were protected by flood defences, including 600 homes in Taunton and 25,000 properties along the River Don through Doncaster and Bentley.

Despite the heavy rain, swathes of England are still in a state of drought, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) warning that the downpours were not enough to counteract the effects of two unusually dry winters.

A Defra spokesman said: "Following two dry winters and record low levels of rainfall, water reserves are still under pressure in many parts of the UK. While we welcome the rain we have received recently, we cannot be complacent and still need everyone to save water where they can."

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