Torrential downpours caused flooding across the country today, closing a motorway, disrupting train services and leaving thousands of people preparing to evacuate their homes.
The Environment Agency issued more than 40 flood warnings and over 120 less serious flood alerts as a month’s rain fell in just 24 hours.
Motorists battled with treacherous conditions on the roads, and the M50 motorway in Gloucestershire was partially closed in both directions.
Householders in the worst-affected areas in East Anglia, the Midlands and northern England were advised to move their valuables upstairs, roll up carpets and put down sandbags.
The British Red Cross put emergency response teams on standby to help flood-hit communities and urged people to pack their bags so they could be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice
Insurers have pledged to help people whose homes and businesses are damaged by the flooding.
Many events were cancelled, including today’s racing at Warwick and this weekend’s MFEST music festival at Harewood House in Leeds, which was due to have been headlined by the Human League and Texas in front of 30,000 fans.
Motor racing fans travelling to Silverstone for the practice sessions for Sunday’s British Grand Prix were stuck in lengthy queues getting to the circuit from the M1 and then had to negotiate waterlogged car parks.
The flooding caused delays and cancellations on the railways, with problems reported in Manchester, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
The Prince of Wales was among those held up by rain-related travel disruption when he visited Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.
The town, which was badly flooded a fortnight ago, was again hit by heavy rain and Charles was an hour late arriving.
However, the Prince paid no heed to the bad weather, touring a flood-affected primary school before braving the elements without a coat to call in at several of Hebden Bridge’s shops and cross a bridge over the swollen and swift-flowing River Calder.
The Met Office said the main band of rain would leave central England and move north before curling back overnight to reach south-west England, which is likely to be the worst affected area tomorrow.
Forecasters added that between the showers conditions should be bright, with temperatures possibly reaching as high as 20C.
The Met Office has issued amber weather warnings for south-west England and parts of central Scotland for tomorrow.
It said: “The public should be prepared for the likelihood of surface water flooding and some disruption to travel and outdoor activities.”
Last month was the wettest June since records began, with double the average rainfall for the period, and this month looks set to break the record for July.
There is no immediate end in sight to the wash-out summer, with meteorologists warning that Britain is very unlikely to see a long spell of hot, sunny weather during the Olympics.
However, the Met Office does say that the conditions when the Games are on should not be as bad as they have been over the past month.
Bookmakers William Hill today cut the odds of rain falling during the Olympics opening ceremony on July 27 from 4/1 to 1/1.
This is a copy of the full article provided by Telegraph