Downpours expected to cause floods

Parts of Britain have been warned to expect further flooding as forecasters predicted yet more downpours.

A band of heavy and persistent rain is set to hit the South West before spreading across southern parts of England and Wales later. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain across the south and south-west of England, saying that flooding is likely due to the already rain-sodden ground.

Weather expert Helen Roberts, who works for the national forecaster, said: "Today will see a decent, sunny start for most places but a band of heavy rain is expected to reach western Cornwall later this morning and extend east across the rest of southern England and southern Wales during the afternoon.

"We are not expecting huge rainfall totals but because of the recent weather the ground is very saturated so any rain could cause localised flooding."

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued two flood warnings in the South West and 24 flood alerts across other parts of England.

There are growing fears that the bad weather could affect the Olympic torch relay, which visits Wiltshire and Dorset over the coming days.

Angus Campbell, chairman of Dorset's Olympic Board, said: "All Dorset agencies are working very closely with the Met Office and the Environment Agency so that we can make decisions as quickly as possible on the route the Olympic flame will take. Our intention, where possible, is to use the published route but we have alternatives in place if the weather causes further difficulties."

Britain has already had the wettest April and June on record, with flash floods bringing misery up and down the country. The bad weather is set to continue on Friday with the heavy rain moving across the Midlands, East Anglia and parts of northern England.

Gemma Plumb, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said parts of England and Wales also face the risk of thunderstorms and localised torrential downpours.

Thunderstorms and persistent showers drenched the south coast of England on Wednesday. Heavy rain caused flash flooding in Shepton Mallet, near Glastonbury in Somerset, when up to 30mm of rain fell in two hours leaving cars stranded and roads under water.