Savage Wind And Rain Pummels UK

Weather Alert

Warnings of further flooding are issued as rescue workers continue the search for several people not seen since New Year’s Eve

Emergency services are searching for people missing in vicious weather lashing Britain, as the Government called an urgent meeting over the conditions.

Flooding and power have hit households across the country, with roads closed and hundreds of homes without electricity.

A 27-year-old man is feared dead after being was swept out to sea in Cornwall while celebrating the new year on the beach with friends. That came after a woman died in the surf in north Devon.

And police across the country are searching for several people who have not been seen the night of New Year’s Eve.

More than 200 weather warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency, affecting every region of England and Wales.

Dozens of flood warnings were put in place, mostly in the South West of England, with strong winds, heavy downpours and more flooding forecast over the coming days.

Craig Woolhouse, the Environment Agency’s head of flood incident management, said: “Strong winds and large waves along the west and south coasts of England are forecast between Friday and Sunday, coinciding with high tides.

“Impacts could include flooding affecting some coastal properties and communities.

“Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.

“Environment Agency teams are out on the ground making sure flood defences are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and preparing to issue flood alerts and warnings.”

A Cornwall police spokesman said: “There are people who enjoy swimming in all weathers as well as those who may under-estimate the danger a rough sea can pose.

“During the current bad weather, we would appeal to everyone to use common sense and not put themselves in unnecessary danger.”

Meanwhile, in Liphook, Hampshire, 300 homes lost power after lines were brought down in the stormy weather.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee on Thursday, in response to flooding that has wreaked havoc.

“We will remain in touch with local councils in at-risk areas,” he said.

“With a number of flood alerts for the South East for tomorrow, including several areas which have previously been flooded, I urge everyone in affected areas to sign up to EA flood warnings and follow the advice issued.”

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