Floods warning amid rain forecasts

Bands of heavy rain could cause flooding in parts of England and Wales this week, the Environment Agency has warned.

Slow-moving downpours are set to hit parts of central, southern and south west England and south east Wales over the coming days, with more than two inches of rain forecast to fall in some areas.

With the heavy rain falling on already saturated ground, there is a risk of rivers and groundwater flooding in counties including Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

Strong winds which are also forecast for the next few days could increase the risk of surface water flooding as wind-blown leaves and debris could block drains, the government agency warned.

The Environment Agency currently has four flood warnings in place in the south west, for areas on the rivers Axe, Dart and Char, and 27 less serious flood alerts in the region and elsewhere in England.

Teams have been mobilised to check on flood defences, clear river blockages and monitor water levels, and the agency is urging people to keep up to date with the latest warnings online or sign up to its free flood warnings service.

The Met Office said it had weather warnings out for south west England and south east Wales, as well as western Scotland, over the next few days.

More than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes and transport links were cut off after persistent heavy rain caused flooding in Scotland on Monday.

The first weather warning is for heavy rain in the South West and south east Wales.

A spokesman said: "We are looking at 15-30mm (0.6-1.2 inches) quite widely across that area and up to 40mm (1.6 inches) in the worst-hit areas. There's pretty saturated ground following the rain around today, so there's the possibility of seeing some localised flooding."