Floods fear as heavy rain forecast

Communities in parts of England and Wales were warned of the risk of more flooding as bands of heavy rain sweep in over the weekend.

Areas of the south west of England have had almost an inch (20mm) of rain in the past 24 hours, and the Met Office said 0.8-1.2 inches (20mm to 30mm) could fall on Friday night and Saturday morning. As much as 1.6 inches (40mm) could fall on the high ground overnight.

Further heavy prolonged rain is forecast for Sunday night, with another 0.8-1.2 inches falling in south west England and south west Wales, and up to 2.4 inches (60mm) on the high ground.

A Met Office spokeswoman said it had issued a warning for rain in south west England, and there was another warning of heavy rain for Sunday night in the South West and south west Wales. She warned it would be "very wet and unpleasant" on Friday night and on Sunday into Monday when the rain hit, but added that Saturday was likely to be dry and cloudy with some sunny spells.

Because the ground is already saturated following recent storms and one of the wettest summers on record, the rain could lead to more flooding, and people are being urged to remain vigilant for the possibility of floods.

The Environment Agency is warning of localised flooding, with surface water affecting land and roads.

In a statement, the agency also warned: "Further prolonged heavy rain on Sunday may result in more significant disruption over parts of south west England and Wales, such as flooding of communities and travel disruption."

Some rivers could flood over the next few days and the Environment Agency expects to issue flood warnings and alerts for rivers. On Friday afternoon there was just one flood warning in place, for the River Ouse just south of York which saw near-record river levels last week.

Yorkshire was the area worst hit by last week's floods as more than the average rainfall for September fell in just a few days in many parts.

A couple drowned in a swollen river in Wales and a block of townhouses in Newburn, Newcastle, were condemned to be knocked down after floodwater gouged out the earth under their foundations. More than 500 homes and businesses were flooded across England and Wales.