Heavy rain brings flooding and travel disruption to parts of UK

Tom Pilgrim, PA

Flooded road and rail links have brought disruption and some were homes evacuated after torrential rainfall soaked parts of the UK.

A swathe of weather warnings covering parts of Scotland, north-west England and Wales remained in place on Saturday night after some areas were struck by 36 hours of wet conditions.

In Wales, footage shared on social media showed a swollen river at Pontypridd, while other videos revealed flooded parts of Carmarthen where the River Towy burst its banks.

Winter weather Feb 20th 2021
A play park in Callander, Stirlingshire (Jane Barlow/PA)

Malcolm Rees, 54, a coracle boat maker in Carmarthen, said one of his sheds was submerged in one metre deep floodwater.

He said his family had been using the shed since the 1930s and in his father’s time using it the river had only come in once in 1987.

But Mr Rees added: “In the last couple of years it’s been in three of four times”.

He said floodwater deposited silt and sediment after draining away, with “sludge” left “everywhere”.

“Every time it floods I’ve got to get a skip and things that are damaged go in the skip,” Mr Rees said, whose work on the boats is for heritage purposes.

“It’s the businesses in the area that I feel for,” he said, highlighting that a nearby garage and joinery were flooded.

A spokesperson for Natural Resources Wales said the areas most affected by flood warnings were in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, with some residents evacuated by the fire service in Newcastle Emlyn.

Data was still being compiled, but the Welsh Government-sponsored body believes there are “multiple flooded properties in both the Teifi and Tywi Valley”, the spokesperson added.

Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said that between 9am on Friday and 6pm on Saturday Llyn-y-Fan Blaenau in Carmarthenshire had seen the most rain – some 141.6mm.

The average rainfall for the whole of February in South Wales is 98mm, the Met Office previously said.

In Cumbria, over the same Friday to Saturday period, 130.2mm dropped at Seathwaite and 125.8mm fell at Honister Pass.

The wettest area in the 12 hours to 6pm on Saturday was High Row, also in Cumbria, that received 43mm.

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High water levels in Pontypridd, South Wales, following heavy rainfall in the area (@mimosacymru)

On Saturday morning, floodwater on railway tracks brought disruption to lines connecting Newquay and Par in Cornwall, Hereford in England and Newport in Wales and Abercynon and Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.

On Twitter, Carmarthenshire County Council shared information on a series of local road closures, warning people to take care due to “lots of surface water”.

Ceredigion County Council said a decision was made on Saturday to evacuate some residents in the Welsh village of Adpar, with an “emergency rest centre” being opened at Llandysul at 3pm.

But the council said many residents had decided to stay at home or go to relatives and friends, with the rest centre was stood down three hours later.

It also reported road closures amid “treacherous driving conditions” as well as a landslide at Capel Dewi.

In Scotland, photos taken near Callander, in Stirlingshire, showed motorists trying to drive through flood water along the A84.

On Saturday evening, Natural Resources Wales had 22 flood warnings in place, which advise immediate action, largely across the south of the country, alongside 35 flood alerts.

The Environment Agency had issued 13 flood warnings and 95 flood alerts across England, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency had 38 flood warnings and 10 flood alerts in place.

Winter weather Feb 20th 2021
Motorists make their way through flood water along the A84 near Callander, Stirlingshire (Jane Barlow/PA)

All the Met Office’s weather warnings were due to end on Saturday night, except for a warning of wind in northwest Scotland that expires in the early hours of Sunday.

Natural Resources Wales warned that flooding was still possible on Saturday evening and urged people to be careful if going outside.

Mr Snell said areas hit by the wettest weather would see “a little bit of a respite” through drier conditions on Sunday and Monday.

“Certainly we will lose that real heavy and persistent rain what some people have seen over the last 24 to 36 hours or so,” he said, adding: “The worst of it is almost out the way”.

But he warned: “Even though the rain is beginning to ease it does take a little while for the rivers to ease down.”

Mr Snell said further wet weather was coming later in the week with a yellow warning for persistent rain issued parts of southern Scotland on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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