UK

Stormy weather disrupts and wipes out events

  • 22 June 2012
  • From the section UK

Stormy weather is causing disruption to sporting and cultural events, including the Olympic torch relay.

The torch had to be relit in Blackpool after it was put out by the heavy rain, the Isle of Wight Festival site is waterlogged and England's cricket match against the West Indies was called off.

Forecasters say heavy rain is affecting northern England, Northern Ireland, north Wales and south-west Scotland.

The Environment Agency has issued 78 flood warnings in northern England.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for rain affecting the regions of North West England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands, Northern Ireland, South West Scotland Lothian Borders, Strathclyde, Central, Tayside and Fife, and Wales.

It has also warned of severe conditions for parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire. Up to 50-60mm (2-2.4in) of rainfall is expected and in some places that could rise to 100mm (4in).

'Month's rain'

The Environment Agency has flood warnings in place in the North West and North East regions of England, and there are five warnings in Scotland which are in Aberdeenshire and Borders.

Image caption Rainy conditions greeted racegoers arriving at Royal Ascot

There are 53 less severe flood alerts in the North East, North West and South West in England and in Wales, and eight in Scotland.

Environment Agency spokeswoman Kate Marks said: "A month's rain is predicted to fall in the North West in the next 24 hours.

"We would urge the public to remain vigilant and prepared for flooding, especially as river levels can rise very quickly."

The agency has mobilised staff across the North West to operate flood defences, clear blockages and monitor river levels.

In Wigan, residents were ferried from their homes by boat after heavy rainfall clogged drains in Beresford Street.

The third one-day international between England and West Indies at Headingley, Leeds, was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Heavy rain in Blackpool put out the Olympic flame at 18:35 BST. It was relit with the back-up flame from the lantern.

Image caption Residents in Upperton, North Lanarkshire had to be rescued from their homes

Plans to take the torch to the top of the Blackpool Tower were abandoned due to high winds, while the torch relay event scheduled for Blackpool Tower Festival Headland had to be held in the Tower Ballroom.

Organisers said participants on day 35 of the 70-day tour faced the wettest weather so far.

Heavy rain and winds gusting to more than 40mph marred the Cumbria to Lancashire leg, but have not deterred crowds from turning out.

The weather has seen:

Meanwhile, BBC Sport's Frank Keogh says there were wet and windy conditions at day four of Royal Ascot , with numerous horses not running because of the soft conditions.

BBC Weather presenter John Hammond said much of the country will start Saturday with drier but breezy conditions.

But the rain will remain over south-west Scotland overnight. And showers are expected to return to Northern Ireland, north-west and south-west England and Wales by the end of Saturday and there could be another 10-15mm of rain in those areas.

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