Rain, floods and wind batter parts of the UK

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Media captionThe Met Office says some areas could see 50mm (2in) of rain - an average fortnight's worth - by the end of Tuesday

Torrential rain and 70mph winds have been causing flooding and transport chaos across parts of the UK.

Communities across Yorkshire are braced for flooding overnight as forecasters predict a month's worth of rain inside 24 hours for many areas.

Ten people have been rescued from their flooded homes in Merseyside by firefighters using inflatable rafts.

Further heavy rain is expected to put homes and businesses at risk until the middle of this week.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: "The main area of concern has moved north, and tonight is focusing on North Yorkshire, but we could see impacts in Cheshire, Cumbria, North Wales, Manchester and Northumberland."

The Pennines are likely to see the heaviest rain overnight, with an increased risk of flooding for towns and villages around the rivers Aire and Calder.

Authorities in Cheshire said roads have been closed and sandbags issued as part of emergency planning for more than 70 properties either flooded or under threat in Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port.

Cheshire West And Chester Council's Lynn Riley said: "Our highways service has received more than 150 calls with 20 homes flooded and a further 52 at risk. Emergency centres are on standby should they be needed."

Fire Crews ferried residents in St Helens to safety after the Sankey Canal overflowed.

Merseyside Fire Service's Steve Pratt said everyone had been "brought to dry land" and there were no injuries.

Heavy rain overnight and today has led to more than 100 properties flooding, with some 42 properties in the West Country, 35 in the Midlands and 20 in south-east England hit by surface water floods.

Image caption A recovery vehicle attends a car submerged in a ditch in north Somerset.

The West Country and Wales have seen some of the worst weather, with schools closed and a Shropshire village cut off by flooding.

Firefighters in the Bristol area said they attended some 200 flood-related incidents, rescuing nine people.

North Wales Police urged motorists not to make unnecessary journeys due to high levels of surface water on the roads.

And in Flintshire, an animal rescue centre was flooded.

The rail network has been badly hit by heavy rain, with delays or suspensions to trains in Devon and Cornwall and the West Coast Main Line.

There are 41 flood warnings and 164 alerts in England and Wales, and flood alerts in nine areas of Scotland. Northern Ireland is also set to be hit.

The Met Office said up to 100mm (4in) of rain could fall over parts of northern and central England, north and east Wales over 24 hours.

It has amber severe weather warnings in: central Scotland, Tayside and Fife; East Midlands; Grampian; north-east England; north-west England; Northern Ireland; south-west Scotland; Lothian and Borders; Wales; West Midlands; and Yorkshire and Humber.

These warnings advise people to be prepared for severe weather.

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Less severe yellow warnings - indicating that people should be aware - are in place for much of the rest of the UK.

Alison Baptiste, national flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: "We are already seeing travel disruption due to the wet weather and could well see flooding across the country this week.

"We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for the possibility of flooding.

"We also ask that people stay safe by staying away from swollen rivers and not attempting to drive through floodwater."

Denis McCann, of Avon Fire and Rescue Service, said there had been widespread flooding of properties and roads throughout the area.

An NHS Blood and Transplant centre was among several buildings affected by flooding at the North Bristol Business Park in Filton, Bristol.

"We are assessing the developing situation, but have activated our contingency plans, in order to maintain a service to hospitals in the area," a spokeswoman said.

In other developments:

The weather system over the UK is described by the BBC Weather Centre as a deep area of low pressure.

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BBC weather forecaster Matt Taylor said: "The weather has already had an impact on some parts of the country. It is only the start of the story, I'm afraid to say.

"While the rain has eased a bit across southern areas where we've seen the worst of the conditions so far, the bulk of the rain is going to remain in the northern half of the UK, in the Midlands, north Wales and southern Scotland.

"There will be a disruption to travel and increasing risk of flooding as well."

Image caption The village of Portbury near Bristol was affected by flooding after heavy rain (Pic: Vicky Green)

Police said a 30-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree branch on Sunday at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, south-west London, during rain and gusts of wind close to 30mph.

The New Zealand Herald quoted the country's foreign affairs ministry confirming the woman was a New Zealander living in London.

A statement issued by Kew Gardens, which is closed to the public as a precaution, said their "deepest sympathy is with family and friends".

The Met Office said there was going to be a big change in the weather compared to what the country experienced during the first part of September.

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UK forecast for 15/08/2020

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