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Flood threat for Somerset as severe weather warning puts region on red alert

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: July 07, 2012

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Flood alerts have been issued across Somerset after the Met Office upgraded its severe weather warning for the region last night.

Heavy overnight rainfall, along with the forecast of further torrential downpours today, has prompted the national weather service to issue a red warning - the most severe warning it can give.

Up to 40mm of rain an hour is forecast to batter parts of the region in torrential, fast-moving storms.

Weather experts say up to 100mm could fall in places across the South West over the weekend, causing flash floods.

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Traffic and travel is expected to be severely disrupted, along with outdoor activities planned during the weekend.

The Met Office's red warning doesn't include Somerset, but its amber warning has been extended to cover much of the county.

Areas of North Somerset and Bath remain on yellow alert.

A yellow warning urges people to be aware, an amber warning means be prepared, while red means take action.

Of Saturday's rain, the Met Office said: "Although not all places will see the heaviest of the rain, where it does fall it is likely to lead to surface water flooding and some disruption to travel.

"There remains some uncertainty in the location of the heaviest rainfall, but at this time the south west of England looks the most likely area to see the greatest impacts, in particular, the red warning area.

"The public should be prepared for the likelihood of surface water flooding and some disruption to travel and outdoor activities, particularly in the amber warning area."

The severe weather warning is expected to remain in place for the South West until at least 6pm on Saturday evening.

As of 6am this morning, the Environment Agency has issued 26 flood alerts for rivers across the South West, including several in Somerset, and 11 flood warnings.

One flood warning is for the River Isle, from Chard Reservoir to Hambridge.

An Environment Agency spokesman confirmed that 40mm of rain fell in just half an hour there last night, with further heavy downpours forecast for today.

Click here for the latest information on the Environment Agency flood warnings and alerts in the South West.

Click here for the latest weather forecast in Somerset.

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