More showers could bring further travel problems for Christmas getaway

More showers could cause further travel problems in southern England after flooding brought serious disruption as many embarked on a Christmas getaway.

A severe weather warning for more heavy rain is in place across southern England from 12.01am on Saturday until noon on Sunday.

It warns of potential travel delays and flooding as up to 30mm of rain is forecast in parts during the warning period.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “Because it’s been so very wet across the south this extra rain falling onto saturated ground could cause some further problems, so there is a weather warning in force scooting along southern counties during Saturday evening.”

He added the rain was coming from a “fairly angry weather system” which will also bring some “very strong winds”.

Some 101 flood warnings – where flooding is expected – are in place for England, alongside 256 flood alerts, which warn flooding is possible.

On Friday, adverse weather led to the part-closure of the M23 motorway while several rail lines were blocked.

Sussex Police described driving conditions in the region as “miserable”, and said there was “a lot of standing water on the roads”.

Flooding on the M23 near Crawley, West Sussex
Flooding on the M23 near Crawley, West Sussex (Moth_effect/PA)

Devon and Cornwall Police said flooding across the force area made “a number of roads impassable” and it urged motorists to take extra care and avoid driving into standing water.

Highways England has urged motorists to adapt their driving for wet weather by slowing down, keeping well back from the vehicle in front and easing off the accelerator if steering becomes unresponsive.

John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail’s southern region, said the combination of one of the wettest autumns since records began with a month’s worth of rainfall in the past five days has put the rail network “under enormous pressure”.

Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services were affected after rail lines were flooded.

An RAC survey suggested 4.7 million leisure trips by car would be taken on Friday, as many people embarked on the Christmas getaway.

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