01/05/2012 03:55 BST | Updated 01/05/2012 13:11 BST

UK Weather: England And Wales Facing Fresh Floods (PICTURES)

Parts of England and Wales are facing fresh flood fears after heavy rain lashed southern Britain overnight following the wettest April since records began.

More than 20mm (0.8in) of rain deluged some regions in the space of 12 hours as already-saturated river catchments neared bursting point - and more downpours are forecast for today.

It came after a man and his dog drowned when their car attempted to cross a flooded ford in Hampshire and around 1,000 people were evacuated from a Northamptonshire caravan park yesterday.

The Environment Agency (EA) remains on "high alert" for flooding and said it is paying "particular focus" on the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Devon, which experienced some of the heaviest of the overnight rainfall.

The agency has put in place 40 flood warnings across England and Wales where flooding is expected and 152 flood alerts, where flooding is possible. The only region to not be affected by the warnings is the north west.

The EA said in a statement: "There is still a risk of flooding across many parts of England and Wales with particular focus on Somerset, Dorset and Devon.

"River flows are high after this weekend's rainfall and we are keeping a close watch on river levels as well as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding."

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Meanwhile The Met Office has issued an amber warning of severe rain and storms in south west England until 3pm today.

Yellow warnings for heavy downpours are in place for the south and east of England, southern Wales, London and the Midlands.

A Met Office spokesman said: "Outbreaks of rain, heavy and possibly thundery, are likely to affect southern England and the southern half of Wales, during Tuesday.

"The public should be aware that, following recent heavy rainfall, further localised flooding is possible, with parts of Devon, Dorset and Somerset looking especially vulnerable. There will also be difficult driving conditions at times.

"As we move through daylight hours on Tuesday the risk of heavy rain will gradually reduce. In addition, strong north easterly winds are likely across the Midlands and parts of Wales."

The national forecaster said that 32mm (1.3in) of rain had fallen over Exmoor in the past 24 hours, while in the 12 hours leading up to 4am, more than 20mm (0.8in) had fallen in south Wales and 16.4mm (0.7in) had deluged Bournemouth Airport.

Met Office forecaster Dan Grey said: "The rain reached the Dorset coast at around 7pm last night and spread north and west throughout the night.

"It has been really heavy in the south west of England and there has also been quite a lot of thunder in central and eastern areas.

"By morning rush hour the heavy rain will have reached the West Midlands and east Wales and there is going to be some dangerous driving conditions."

Aisling Creevey, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said there were lightning strikes across much of the south of England overnight.

In the space of an hour 6.44mm (0.25in) of rain fell in St Athan, South Wales overnight, while 5.8mm fell in the same time period in the Cotswolds town of Winchcombe, in Gloucestershire.

"Everywhere across southern England overnight there was at least 1mm to 2mm of rain every hour," she added.

Around 1,000 people were evacuated from Billing Aquadrome caravan holiday park in Northamptonshire yesterday as heavy rain was forecast for the region.

Guests and caravan owners were advised to leave the site in Great Billing, Northampton, by EA officials who issued a flood warning for the area.

Northamptonshire Police said most people had been able to stay with friends or family or had travelled home.

In Hampshire 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 Compton Wood.

His 54-year-old wife was able to escape from the car as it was swept downstream, but the man, from the Middlesex area, had to be recovered from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Elsewhere, Badminton horse trials were cancelled due to waterlogged and flooded ground.

The UK saw the wettest April since records, dating back a century to 1910, began, according to provisional figures from the Met Office.

The figures up to April 29 showed an average of 121.8 mm 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.

Over the weekend downpours and winds of up to 70mph in south-west England and Wales brought down trees, left thousands of homes without power and disrupted rail services, while low-lying fields and some roads were submerged.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it had attended seven separate incidents across Devon and Somerset in the past two days in which vehicles had become stuck in floodwater.

The fire service has warned people driving to work this morning of the possibility of heavy, localised downpours and urged drivers not to risk their lives by driving through any flood water.

On Monday the Met Office has issued a “code yellow” severe weather warning, urging members of the public to be aware of conditions which have “the potential to cause danger to life or widespread disruption”.

Despite the heavy rain, swathes of England are still in a state of drought, with warnings that the downpours were not enough to counteract the effects of two unusually dry winters.

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