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Floods in UK: More than 800 homes flooded as storms hit

media captionAerial views of Exeter show the extent of the flooding along the River Exe

More than 800 homes have been flooded after storms hit parts of England and Wales, the Environment Agency has said.

It said 816 houses had been affected after a band of heavy rain and strong winds swept across the country.

Devon and Cornwall are badly hit, along with Malmesbury in Wiltshire and Kempsey in Worcestershire.

Two people have died in the storm - a woman killed by a falling tree in Exeter and a man whose car crashed into a swollen river in Cambridgeshire.

However, Cambridgeshire Police later said that the death of the 70-year-old man, whose car plunged into a river near Earith, on Saturday night, was not weather related.

A spokesman for the force said: "This particular accident could have happened at any time of year."

David Cameron has talked of "shocking scenes of flooding".

The prime minister's Twitter message also said the government "will help ensure everything is being done to help".

There are about 260 flood warnings in place across England, which means people should take action because flooding is expected.

Further rain

Of these, about 59 are in the South West and 144 are in the Midlands.

But the last severe flood warning, which was for Helston in Cornwall has now been downgraded.

The Environment Agency has also issued about 280 flood alerts - indicating people should prepare for possible flooding.

According to its website there is still a medium risk of flooding on Monday in North Yorkshire, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Devon, and Gwynedd and Conwy in Wales.

In developments around the country:

  • In Malmesbury, four people were rescued from their homes after what the mayor called the worst flooding there in 70 years
  • Residents of Kempsey, Worcestershire, criticise the village's new £1.5m flood defences which they say has made the flooding worse than in 2007
  • In Plymouth, Devon, about 60 people were evacuated due to safety concerns in a dozen locations and there were numerous reports of people being stuck in their cars
  • A number of homes have been evacuated after a large landslide caused by heavy rain in Old Sodbury near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire
  • Many roads have been closed due to flooding, particularly across the south west region and the Midlands
  • Network Rail said trains were likely to be disrupted between Exeter, Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads until Monday
  • First Great Western has warned passengers who were intending to travel between south-west England and London on Monday morning not to travel
  • Tuesday's all-weather horse racing meeting at Southwell in Nottinghamshire has been abandoned due to rising flood waters
media captionDan Corns, resident: "It is unacceptable the pumps failed"

The man who died in Cambridgeshire was driving a car when it left the road shortly before 17:00 GMT on Saturday and went into a river near Earith.

He was pulled from the water by a member of the public and attended to by a paramedic but was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

And Devon and Cornwall Police said the dead woman was seriously injured when a tree fell on her in Western Way at about 23:50 GMT. She died after being taken to hospital in Exeter. Three other people were treated for minor injuries.

As well as the severe flood warning and flood warnings across England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Sepa, has two flood alerts in place. There are none in Northern Ireland.

Chris Fawkes from the BBC Weather Centre said there had been about 60 mm of rain in the last 24 hours in south-west England.

He said: "A weather front will slowly move across north England and north Wales Sunday night and Monday, and it's here that we are likely to see some further serious flooding."

The Met Office has issued an Amber weather warning for 50 to 70 mm (2-3 in) of rain by the end of Monday.

An Amber warning has also been issued for north Wales, with 50 to 70 mm of rain expected, locally 90 mm over hills.

Earlier, environment minister Richard Benyon said he was "impressed with how the emergency services and Environment Agency have responded" to wet weather.

"What we learned for the floods in 2007 has been invaluable and what the local authorities are doing with the emergency services has helped," he said.

The minister added: "We are better prepared, but no one is taking away from the misery that these floods have causes or the threat of further floods. You can only feel sorry for those people.

"Our estimate is that about 20,000 homes have been protected by flood defences that have built in the past few years."

Meanwhile, Stephen Gilbert, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay, said the events of the last two days "should be a wake-up call for a government that needs to grip this issue and do so quickly".

"We know that flash flooding is increasing because of climate change and there's now little we can do to stop it, but the government must act to make sure people aren't left without insurance when the worst does happen," he said.

More on this story

  • As it happened - England and Wales flooding