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UK Weather: Heavy Rain Keeps Flood Warnings In Place For England And Wales

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Wet weather is set to return this weekend as heavy rain keeps flood warnings in place for England and Wales.

Many flood warnings remain in place for England and Wales as the short respite from heavy rain is expected to give way to another band of miserable weather on Sunday.

Strong winds and showers followed by more heavy downpours will bring the last weekend of the year to a miserable end.

While the last few days have been largely dry for many, showers will return across the UK for much of the day, along with light amounts of snow will fall on high ground in the north of England, including the Pennines and the Lake District, and in Scotland.

floods

The River Thames in Sonning in Berkshire

Unwelcome rain will fall on already-saturated ground and where river and groundwater levels are still high, while larger rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Wye are likely remain high for several days.

England's South West, South East and Midlands regions will continue to be affected, as well as large chunks of Wales, the Environment Agency said.

Its flood risk manager, Katharine Evans, said: "With more heavy rain forecast, it is still as important as ever to be prepared for flooding, keep up to date with the latest warnings and if you are at risk, to move valuable items to safety.

"Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect communities from flooding, and we would urge people to stay safe by not walking or driving through flood water."

Days of almost relentless downpours blighted parts of the country for much of December, punctuated only by the briefest of dry spells as communities count the cost of flooding.

Hundreds of alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency this month, as several days' worth of rain has fallen in just a few hours at its worst, contributing to a year of bad weather which has left the UK on the brink of its wettest since records began in 1910.

flooding

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, is one town affected by the year's final wet weekend

Homes have been evacuated and weary commuters and travellers have been forced to find alternative routes or abandon their plans altogether as sections of Britain's transport network ground to a halt.

Heavy rain is expected to return tomorrow into Monday morning, falling on already-saturated ground. River and groundwater levels are still high, while larger rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Wye are likely remain high for several days.

Forecasters have said 2012 could become the wettest on record in the UK after predicting a wet and windy end to the year as flood-battered areas were warned they face renewed danger from storms.

According to the Met office just 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed to fall before December 31 to make this year the wettest on record for the UK overall, with a new record already set for England with 43.1in (1,095.8mm) falling between January 1 and Boxing Day.

The UK as a whole had 50.8in (1,291.2mm) of rain from January 1 to December 26, with the wettest year on record for the UK currently 2000, when 52.6in (1,337.3mm) fell. Confirmation is expected next week, and would be all the more remarkable considering the drought status declared for parts of the country during the early part of the year.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the entire country was set to be drenched by persistent rain sweeping in from the Atlantic coupled with winds of up to 85mph in the far north of Scotland.

Matt Dobson, forecaster at MeteoGroup, said New year's Eve revellers in England and Wales could expect the rain to ease up on Monday evening.

He said: "On the big evening itself it looks like many parts of England and Wales will have a dry evening by the time it gets to midnight.

"But, in Scotland and for the North it will be windy with heavy showers."

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