Neighbourhood: Rows of houses in the village of Moorland have been flooded following the heavy rain.
  • Heavy rainfall of up to an inch forecast, threatening more havoc around already overflowing rivers
  • Storms are expected to be at least as severe as last week which causes chaos across southern England
  • The Environment Agency has issued more than 500 flood warnings and alerts, three of which pose 'a danger to life'
  • The body is facing fresh anger after a senior official hailed its performance during the storms as a 'success story'
  • Ministry of Defence has put 1,600 personnel on standby to assist in southern England if needed
  • The Environment Agency say there is a significant risk of further flooding throughout Devon and Cornwall
  • Flooding has now spread to the Home Counties - Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Hampshire
  • Calmer conditions and some respite today and tomorrow, but 'deep depression' is likely early hours of Tuesday
  • Much of Somerset has been underwater since December and there is more bad weather coming
  • Records show that England faced the wettest January since 1766
Devastating storms continued to cause misery in Britain yesterday, forcing hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes, while forecasters warned the bad weather could continue into next week.

But the Environment Agency provoked anger last night after claiming their response to the widespread flooding had been a 'success story', despite thousands of properties being ruined by the rising water levels.

Director of operations David Jordan told a press briefing that the 5,000 homes flooded during the winter storms were 'individual tragedies'.


A wave bigger than Sennen Cove, in Cornwall, crashes over the cliffs as a series of devastating storms swept in bringing gales of up to 80mph.

Dozens of people line the sea wall at Porthcawl in South Wales, risk their lives, eager to get a look at the giant waves crashing ashore.

A man is lifted off the ground as gale force winds sweep up his jacket in Sennen Cove, Cornwall.

A fierce swell whips against the sea wall at Porthleven in Cornwall as the sun briefly breaks through the clouds.

Buildings on the sea front in Porthleven, Cornwall are dwarfed by a huge wall of water crashing on the front.

'But also we need to recognise that 1.3 million other properties would have flooded if these flood defences had not been built.

'That is the success story, if you like, that we are talking about. It does represent the benefit of investing in flood defences.'

The comments drew a sharp response from Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency has been among the worst affected areas.

'What a stupid bloody man. To call this a bloody success story. This is getting worse,' he said.

Waves break over the Cobb in Lyme Regis, Dorset as the south coast is battered by stormy weather.

A spray from a wave reaches the top of the 35-metre high Longships Lighthouse at Lands End, Cornwall.
'This is absolute stupidity and arrogance. This is a tragedy and disaster. The Prime Minister said it is a biblical scene, and he was right. It's not a success story.

'This is an out of touch, out of control quango which is stuck in a time warp of arrogance and stupidity. I only want five million quid to dredge a river, and he is talking about a success story.'

The controversial remarks came as a seven-year-old boy died after allegedly inhaling poisonous gas from a pump which was being used to drain flood water from a home.

Zane Gbangbola - and his father, 48-year-old Kye Gbangbola, were discovered during a night-time rescue of families in a water-logged street in Chertsey, Surrey, early yesterday.


Crowds gather on the beach at Lyme Regis to watch as the power of the storm unleashes a series of rolling waves crashing over the Cobb.

Gales of up to 80mph and 35 feet waves have created further flooding misery as a fresh series of storms sweep across Britain. Pictured: Giant waves lash the seafront in Southsea, Hampshire.

The crisis-hit Somerset Levels where many residents have already been forced from their homes after weeks of heavy rain remain at the highest risk of continued flooding.

Gale force winds and big waves begin to strike the sea walls at Aberystwyth on the west Wales coast.

The famous clock tower of the coastal village of Kingsand, Cornwall bears the brunt of wind and wave as high tide arrives.

A flooded road near Chertsey in Surrey. Yesterday the flooding spread to the Home Counties and Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Hampshire have all seen homes being swamped and roads cut off.

Large waves have battered sea defences and the RNLI have warned that onlookers could be 'swept off their feet' into the sea.

The storms are expected to be at least as severe as those which caused widespread destruction across southern England last week leaving swathes of the country under water.

Forecasters have warned that gail-force winds and further downpours that have hit large parts of the already saturated south of England will last into next week.

Waves of up to 35ft will batter the Cornish coast, according to forecasters from surf website, and the BBC reported coastguards in Devon say they are expecting 'phenomenal' waves off shore, possibly reaching 45ft (14m) in height.

The crisis-hit Somerset Levels where many residents have already been forced from their homes after weeks of heavy rain remain at the highest risk of continued flooding .

Severe flood warnings were in place in Chiswell, Dorset, as well as Salt Moor, North Moor, East Lying and Burrowbridge in Somerset.

The Environment Agency (EA) also highlighted the coastline of Devon and Dorset as being at 'significant risk' of new flooding as high tides and winds arrive.

There are more than 300 low-level flood alerts and nearly 200 medium-risk flood warnings in place across Wales and southern and central England as north as Hull - two of them pose 'a danger to life'.

The misery continues as it is revealed that England faced the wettest January since 1766.

Yesterday the flooding spread to the Home Counties and Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Hampshire have all seen homes being swamped and roads cut off.

A pedestrian underpass is to be turned into an emergency pond to hold hundreds of thousands of litres of floodwater threatening homes and businesses in south London.

The Purley Cross underpass will be used to hold water pumped from around 400 under-threat buildings in parts of Kenley and Purley and to stop a water treatment works which supplies tens of thousands of homes from flooding, Croydon Council said.

The authority said the plan to use the underground footway to hold around 600,000 litres of water from last night was approved after its 'primary' pond at Purley Depot overflowed last night.

In Kent, there was localised flooding in parts of Bridge, near Canterbury. In Yalding - which was badly hit over Christmas - the Little Venice caravan park flooded again.

'Officers have been out and about with partner agencies, including the Kent Community Wardens from Kent County Council, warning and informing those residents who may be subject to a flooding event.'

Sandbags and advice were being provided to flood-prone parts of Kent, including in Bridge, Patrixbourne, Barham and Bishopsbourne.

And signs including, No fishing, No running, No Diving, were put up in the local village shop in Hambledon.
In East Sussex, the ruined West Pier in Brighton survived another night of stormy weather following damage earlier this week.

A large section of the 148-year-old, Grade-I listed structure collapsed into the English Channel early on Wednesday.

The River Thames in the Chertsey area of Surrey had burst its banks and home-owners were warned to expect flooding.

An EA spokeswoman said: 'The water has come out of the bank at Chertsey. We haven't had any reports of flooding so far but that's very likely to happen.

'The river there is exceptionally high as a result of the successive bands of rainfall over the past few weeks.

'We have had the wettest January since the 1700s and the ground is absolutely saturated. This has exacerbated the conditions.

'The River Thames is rising in response to that huge amount of rainfall, and we are seeing that impact now.

'It could well rise further. Because of the Thames' huge length, it's a slow responding river so it takes a while for the tributaries to filter down into the Thames, which could days or even weeks.'

Adding to the rail disruption in the South West, First Great Western said there had been a landslip at Castle Cary in Somerset. Yesterday, there were no services running between Castle Cary and Exeter and replacement buses were in operation.

The storm is said to be moving north-eastwards bringing with it winds of up to 70mph and heavy showers, weather forecasters MeteoGroup said.

The EA was warning that further rain, wind and waves were likely to cause more flood risks this weekend and into next week.

Successive bands of rain which have been affecting the country all week are expected to continue until at least Tuesday, causing river levels to rise along the Thames, the Severn and the Dorset Stour as well as across most of the south west, central southern and south east of England.

EA teams continue to be out in force across England, installing demountable defences, repairing damaged coastal defences, deploying sandbags along riverbanks, clearing river blockages, monitoring water levels and sending out flood warnings.

At Chiswell in Dorset teams are being assisted by the armed forces to shore up sea defences that were damaged in last week's storms.

On the Somerset Levels demountable defences that were requisitioned from other parts of the country have been erected to help protect homes at Fordgate and Northmoor and the pumping operation continues day and night, with nearly three million tonnes of water being pumped away every day - the equivalent of three Wembley Stadiums.

Pete Fox, head of strategy and investment at the EA, said: 'The weather continues to be hugely challenging, with further wind and waves threatening the south west coast and even more rain threatening to cause flooding along rivers across the south west, central and southern England.

'Environment Agency teams continue to work around the clock in difficult conditions, to protect homes, communities and land.

'We urge people to stay safe and not to walk or drive through flood water which can be dangerous and to take care near coastal paths and promenades for fear of being swept away.'

Paul Gundersen, Met Office chief meteorologist, said: 'We have another Atlantic storm bringing gales and heavy downpours to many parts of the UK this weekend.

'Monday is expected to bring a brief respite from the stormy conditions before more strong winds and rain set in from the west on Tuesday.

'This will bring the continuing risk of flooding and damaging winds bringing down trees to cause disruption to travel and power networks.'

The continued storms come after the Prime Minister pledged to do everything he can to help the flood-stricken communities of the Somerset Levels but warned solutions would take some time.

A man wades through his flooded driveway outside his home in Moorland, Somerset.

Phil Smithen, 63, leaves his flooded home in Moorland, Somerset. He is one of the last people to leave the village.

A Land Rover drives through flood waters in Moorland. The water has risen by so much it is almost level with the windshield.

Two men load up an inflatable raft on the doorstep of their home in the Somerset village.

Paul Sayer, 58, leaves his flooded home after it is ravaged by a surge in the water levels overnight.
David Cameron's visit to the region yesterday coincided with a trip by beleaguered EA chairman Lord Smith to the area, where he faced furious residents and calls to quit.

Mr Cameron traveled to the Somerset Levels via helicopter - meaning he was able to view the region's 65 square miles of submerged land first-hand.

'It's a biblical scene,' Mr Cameron said. 'The scale of it here in Somerset is immense when you think of how many square miles are under water.

'Clearly people here have faced a very tough time and continue to face a tough time and that's why we have got to do everything we can to help.'

More support from the emergency services, more pumps and more money will be available to help Somerset, he promised residents.

'Everything that can be done will be done and I'll make sure that happens,' he added.

He also admitted that the decision to stop dredging the Tone and Perrett rivers in the 1990s was 'wrong' and a period or more 'intensive' dredging was needed.

But Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP for flood-hit Bridgwater and West Somerset, told the Daily Mail it was not enough and that foreign aid money should be diverted to help Britain's flooded regions.

He said: 'We send money all over the world now we need to give people down here the hope that they will get what they need.

'We should divert some of it down here. We don't have to divert it forever, but we need it now.'

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, told the Daily Mail: 'We've got to make sure we look after our own at this stage. Foreign aid is good, but it is wasted.

We need to make sure that money comes straight to the West Country. We've got to rebuild coastal defences and railways.'

On Friday, Mr Liddell-Grainger attacked Lord Smith over his first visit to the Levels since the flooding began at Christmas.

'I will tell him what I bloody well think of him - he should go, he should walk.' he fumed

'I'm livid. This little git has never even been on the telephone to me. He's a coward.'

The under-fire Labour peer was met with calls to resign from angry residents who have criticised the EA for their slow response and failing to dredge the rivers.
He said: 'I have no intention of resigning because I'm very proud of the work the Environment Agency and its staff have been doing right round the country in the face of the most extreme weather.'
Mr Cameron and Lord Smith's visits - a week after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was heckled by local residents - came as Royal Marines were helping evacuate some 140 properties in the village of Moorland.

Another night of heavy rain on Saturday overwhelmed local flood defences and, despite advice from police, a handful of people have chosen to remain in their homes.

The floodwater surrounding Tewksbury continues to remain following heavy rainfall in the area.

Severe flooding in Essex yesterday meant ten people two dogs had to be rescued by Essex Fire by boat in Saffron Walden.
As residents have struggled to cope with the rising water, police arrested three men on suspicion of stealing fuel from near the cut-off village of Muchelney.

The arrests follow the theft of 600 gallons of domestic heating oil from a farm in Moorland and the theft of two fire service quad bikes from Burrowbridge last week.

Around 5,000 properties have been affected by flooding across the country, including 40 in Somerset.

The local government secretary has ordered a flood defence repair audit of both EA defences and private defences, following the latest meeting of the Government's emergency committee COBRA yesterday evening.

Eric Pickles said: Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: 'I have chaired this evening's emergency committee (COBRA) which will sit again, led by the Prime Minister, tomorrow (Sunday).

'We are continuing to make sure every preparation is made before the severe weather expected overnight and into next week.

'I ask everyone to remain vigilant, stay safe and follow the advice being issued by the Environment Agency.

Local authorities, the military and the emergency services have continued their sterling work on the ground. I want to reassure the public that work continues to protect homes and communities. In addition strategic sites such as water and electrical plants are being given special attention to ensure that homes are not left without vital resources. This includes distributing extra sandbags and water pumps.

'An additional 1,600 military personal are now on standby across the south and can be deployed rapidly if required.

'Flood ambassadors from the Environment Agency are on the ground across the country, including the Thames Valley, to offer help and practical advice to the public about the further bad weather expected.

'The Transport Secretary is continuing to ensure that everything is being done to review and repair connections in the south west on the rail network which has been affected again today (Saturday) by landslides. This includes running 125 additional coaches, doubling the number of flights from Gatwick to Newquay, from 3 to 6 a day, and the introduction of larger planes.

'I want to once again pay tribute to everyone who has rallied to support those who need help and reassure the public that everything possible is being done to protect people's homes and livelihoods.'

He also announced that he will be lowering the threshold for the Bellwin scheme, a scheme which reimburses local authorities with central government money following disasters.

It should make an extra 15 million euro available to meet the immediate costs associated with protecting lives and properties.

Mr Pickles added that 'impressive British goodwill' has seen neighbours helping each other out and people refusing to take money for providing shelter.

Gatwick Airport has also waived fees for additional Flybe flights between Newquay and London to alleviate pressure on the transport system in the south west.

Yesterday morning around 670 homes in the Newbury, Basingstoke, Bournemouth and Salisbury areas were without power.

A submerged caravan in the flooded village of Moorland which was evacuated last night after flood waters continued to rise.

Homes: Lord Smith's visit to the flood-hit area came as Royal Marines were helping evacuate some 140 properties in the village of Moorland (pictured).

Horses are moved to higher ground in Burrowbridge, Somerset, as the region suffers from further heavy rain and flooding.
Meanwhile in Dawlish engineering work is continuing to repair the sea wall on which the main rail line connecting Cornwall with the rest of the country sits.

Around 80 metres of the sea wall was destroyed by high tides and stormy seas, causing a significant stretch of railway to collapse into the sea.

The road adjacent to the railway and several houses has also been damaged, as was Dawlish station itself and several other sites in the area.

Rail and concrete sleepers that once carried trains along the sea wall have been cut away and placed across the bottom of the damaged section.

These are gradually being reinforced with sprayed fast-drying concrete, which will form a temporary barrier to take the brunt of the forecast heavy seas, Network Rail said.

'It is hoped this will absorb enough of the force of the waves over the next 24 hours so that the weakened sub-soil, which is very soft, will not erode further,' a spokesman said.

The most damaged platform at Dawlish station has been demolished and will be rebuilt in the coming weeks.'

Network Rail is asking the public to stay away from the area, as the combination of heavy machinery, concrete spraying, and the waves means it is not safe to be around.

'Engineers are working in very difficult conditions with work taking place on a six-hours on, six-hours off basis, designed around the tidal patterns,' the spokesman said.

'Full assessment of repairs will come with calmer weather after the weekend, along with a revised timescale.

'Initial assessments are that it will be at least six weeks to completion from when work begins.'

Network Rail has mobilised a range of specialist contractors, engineers and suppliers from across the country to help with the work needed at Dawlish and has also taken up the offer of discussions with the Ministry of Defence to see if there is any help which can be provided by the military.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham an elderly woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a tree fell on to a car.

The woman, who is thought to be in her 70s, was traveling in a white Fiesta in Yardley when the tree came down on top of the vehicle in Stoney Lane.

Fire crews are dealing with rising floodwater which is threatening an important electricity substation near Reading. They are bringing in a high-volume pump from Hertfordshire because Berkshire's pump is being used in Somerset. The substation is thought to serve about 40,000 homes and businesses.

Gardens in Chertsey, Surrey, are no longer visible as the town is ravaged by flood water.