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Dreaming of a wet Christmas? No snow forecast but rain on the way to West

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 21, 2013

The West saw its first sustained snow of the winter yesterday – on the hills of Herefordshire. Photographer Chas Breton spotted the dusting of the white stuff high on  Catsback near Longtown.

The West saw its first sustained snow of the winter yesterday – on the hills of Herefordshire. Photographer Chas Breton spotted the dusting of the white stuff high on Catsback near Longtown.

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A white Christmas for the West Country remains unlikely, though the far north and Scotland may get snow towards the middle of next week. Paddy Power was offering 2-1 odds of Manchester and Glasgow having a festive sprinkling.

There might not be much chance of a white Christmas, but a wet one is certainly on the cards. The Environment Agency has warned the public to be on flood alert until after Christmas as further heavy rain and strong winds threaten to lash the West.

Following the deluges on Thursday night Environment Agency staff have issued flood alerts in several parts of Somerset. The ground is already very wet, river levels are high and further heavy rain is expected in the days ahead. The agency is warning residents to take action now to protect themselves.

The Met Office yesterday afternoon issued the following warning, "An area of heavy rain and strong winds is expected to cross England and Wales during Friday afternoon and through Saturday. "This will bring some locally large rainfall accumulations, particularly on hills, and following previous wet weather is likely to lead to some localised flooding."

Its chief forecaster blamed a deep low pressure system moving across the Atlantic for the rainfall.

People who are set to be away from home for the festive period are urged to check the flood situation and take precautionary steps to prepare. This could include moving valuable items to safety. They are also urged to check the flood risk situation for their journey and at their destination.

On the Somerset Levels, which was devastated by floods last year, Hay Moor and Curry Moor are among the areas on flood alert.

Martock, near Yeovil, is well prepared. In last year's freak floods several houses flooded because drains were overwhelmed. As a result the parish council initiated flood wardens, and yesterday vice chairman Christopher Bell, one of the wardens was keeping a close eye on Hurst Brook which runs near his home. Mr Bell was supplied with gel bags by South Somerset District Council on Thursday after rising waters threatened nearby Parrett Works. The wardens hope their road closure signs will not be needed.

"We are closely monitoring the situation across the South West. We are working to minimise any possible risk of flooding and warning residents to take action now and reduce the risks and impacts," said Stephen Marks for the Environment Agency. "Now is a good time for anyone who lives in an area vulnerable to flooding to think about the precautions they can take to protect their properties, especially if they are intending to leave their homes during the Christmas break. I would encourage everybody to check their flood risk at the Environment Agency website and keep up-to-date on warnings."

Many or our rivers and streams in the South West respond very quickly to heavy rain and can cause flash flooding, which means flooding to homes and businesses can happen very quickly. So it is important for everyone to check whether their home or business is at risk of flooding.

Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Hope-s-umbrella-tree/story-20352510-detail/story.html#ixzz2o65oV6T2

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