Elmer villagers evacuated amid heavy rain and flooding

  • 12 June 2012
  • From the section UK
Media captionAerial footage shows the extent of flooding in Bracklesham and Felpham, in West Sussex

Persistent rain across some parts of southern England has caused a second day of flooding problems, with a West Sussex village evacuated and a school's pupils forced to miss exams.

Police and firefighters used boats to move people from 250 homes in Elmer, near Bognor Regis, after days of rain.

More rain is forecast across England and Wales and the Environment Agency has issued 38 flood alerts .

BBC Weather said Wednesday could see heavy showers in western areas.

Four more serious flood warnings were issued in south-east and eastern England.

More heavy showers are forecast for parts of Wales and south-west England and the West Midlands.

The Met Office said this could lead to surface water flooding, particularly in west Wales, where the ground has been saturated by recent heavy rain.

As yet, there are no severe flood warnings - the highest alert, meaning there is a danger to life.

Abandoned mines

Environment Agency Wales said river levels were not expected to rise much further, but also warned that "heavy showers could lead to localised flooding of roads from blocked drains or small streams".

On Saturday about 1,000 people were moved to safety from flooding in mid-Wales, with an estimated 150 rescued.

As the clean-up continues, scientists are to investigate whether severe flooding near Aberystwyth has contaminated land with harmful metals from abandoned mines.

River banks that have stored toxic metals such as lead, zinc and cadmium for generations, could have been eroded and the toxins washed down stream, polluting land, animals and crops.

Image caption Parts of England and Wales have been worst hit by heavy rainfall

Rain and surface water flooding on Tuesday caused more disruption around the country, including:

  • More than 20 people have been rescued from flooded caravans at two holiday parks in West Sussex after heavy rainfall
  • Fire crews across West Sussex dealt with more than 650 emergency calls in 18 hours - the same number they usually receive in a month
  • Seven schools in Bognor Regis and Chichester are closed, with another two partly closed, because of the conditions
  • Felpham Community College was also closed and exams cancelled after roads there became too dangerous to use
  • Kent County Cricket Club was forced to move its match against Sussex to Canterbury
  • More than 20 Kent bathing beaches remain closed after raw sewage was discharged into the sea following heavy rain at the end of May
  • Riverside Festival - a free music festival in Oxfordshire - has been postponed because of flooding concerns

The adverse weather is also affecting roads in various parts of the country and the BBC's Travel Unit has full details of delays and incidents on its website.

BBC Weather forecaster Holly Green warned of localised, heavy downpours in western areas on Wednesday, which could cause flooding.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for Wednesday for south-west England and Wales.

Swollen rivers

The Environment Agency has urged people to remain vigilant and to check its website for the latest information.

It "strongly" advised the public to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwaters.

Regional duty manager Julia Simpson said: "With rain forecast for every day this week and potentially heavy rainfall at the weekend, we want people to stay aware of the risk of further flooding.

"Some rivers have stabilised, but others are yet to peak as the water moves through, so we could potentially see further flood alerts and flood warnings being issued."

The Met Office said the UK was still below its average rainfall for the time of year.

Between January and May, 392.5mm of rain fell across the country, compared with an average of 439mm.

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