Science & Environment

Flood risk warning issued by Environment Agency

September flooding in York

Soaking Britain may be in for a new bout of flooding in coming months, the Environment Agency has warned.

Rivers are full after the wettest April to June on record, followed by more rain in July, September and October.

The earth is saturated and in many areas there is no more space left in aquifers to store water that seeps through from the surface.

The agency warns that people should be ready for floods even with relatively small amounts of rain.

They warn of increased risk of river flooding in November and December, especially in the south-west and northern and western parts of England and Wales.

Devon, Dorset and Hampshire are also vulnerable to flooding from water coming up through the soaking ground because groundwater in aquifers moves much more slowly than surface water, and will take more time to flow away underground.

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Media captionPete Fox from the Environment Agency says "even modest amounts of rain could lead to flooding"

Sarah Jackson, the Met Office's chief adviser to the government, said: "We are heading into the winter period which is traditionally the wetter period of the year in the UK.

"Because the ground is so wet, if we do have any prolonged heavy rainfall in any part of the country, there is going to be heightened risk of flooding."

With regards to areas at risk of flooding, Peter Fox - of the Environment Agency - said it was most concerned about south west England and Wales.

"It has been a topsy turvy year for us. Our experts were very surprised by the results of the summer rain," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The agency said more than 1.1 million people are signed up to receive its flood warnings - which can be sent by email, text, or a message to a landline or mobile phone.

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