Wallington evacuated in flood fear as heavy rain hits England

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Media captionThe BBC's Peter Henley reports from Wallington in Hampshire

Homes had to be evacuated amid fears a village would be "inundated" with water as heavy rain swept across England.

Villagers in Wallington, Hampshire, were advised to leave their home amid fears a river flood wall would collapse after cracks appeared in it.

Elsewhere, several people have been rescued from vehicles and trains have been cancelled around the country.

The Met Office expects more rain and the Environment Agency has issued 279 flood alerts and 68 flood warnings.

In Staffordshire, children and staff were evacuated from a nursery after the road outside was flooded.

Firefighters said 30 children had been moved from Meaford Day Nursery in Stone.

In Cornwall, river levels on the River Cober in Helston are high after persistent rain on Wednesday, while the Dolphins River Park in Charmouth, Dorset, was under threat from the River Char. The River Wey in Weymouth, Dorset, was also rising, the Environment Agency EA said.

A number of vehicles have got stuck in flood water, with Hampshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall fire services all called to incidents.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service says it had been called to dozens of motorists trapped in flood water.

'Very lucky'

The AA said it had attended 224 cars driven through or stuck in flood water and more than 6,800 breakdowns nationally - 1,100 an hour.

Image copyright Cliff Lawson
Image caption The Christmas tree in the village pond in Finchingfield in Essex is surrounded by flood water

Fire crews rescued a driver trapped by flood water in Bude, Cornwall and Hampshire firefighters rescued six people stuck in vehicles in Fareham, Brockenhurst, Ringwood, Wallington and Waterlooville.

In one incident a father and daughter were rescued by a police community support officer from their car, which became almost submerged in a ford on the Sway to Brockenhurst Road in Hampshire.

PCSO Jim Hordle said: "I'd been on routine patrol and came across the ford and could see a Porsche in there and two occupants trapped in the vehicle.

"We managed to get them out before the car went under completely.

"They are very lucky."

A van driver from Stevenage had to be rescued from fast-flowing flood waters when his vehicle got stuck in a ford he was attempting to drive through.

Image copyright Jonathan Randall
Image caption The flooding in Wallington made it difficult to drive around the village

In Wallington a Sainsbury's supermarket and council depot were closed as the river levels reached "just below" the top of a flood barrier.

The Environment Agency said the wall which suffered cracks was reinforced and was "stable" after the high tide around 16:00 GMT.

The agency's David Robinson said: "Hopefully we'll see river levels drop. But the ground is so wet, any future rain could see this being an issue again."

Flood defences have also been put up in Worcestershire with river levels rising on the Severn and Avon.

A flood warning has been issued for Cogenhoe Mill caravan park near Northampton and four flood alerts have been issued across the county.

'Ground saturated'

The rainfall has also led to problems in Northumbria, where the A19 on Wearside and Tyneside has been closed northbound, and motorists have been advised to take extra care.

In Cornwall more than 100 council staff were out overnight helping residents whose properties had been flooded.

Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption A Stevenage van driver was rescued uninjured from a flooded ford

David Owens, who has been directing operations on behalf of the authority, said: "It's been very busy, not as bad as 24 and 25 November, but still pretty unpleasant.

"Looking at the weather forecast, we are going to be busy up to Christmas.

"The problem is that the water has nowhere to go because the ground is so saturated."

Train services between Liskeard and Looe in Cornwall and between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst in Hampshire are also affected, and the Cornish villages of Polbathic, Altarnun, St Keverne, Gunwalloe, Gorran Haven and Mevagissey have been flooded.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue manager Alex Hanson said: "It is impossible for motorists to tell how deep water is or the condition of the ground beneath.

"There is a significant risk to life if motorists become stranded. We recommend that people do not make non-essential journeys... if they live in areas prone to flooding."

Image copyright Steve Richards
Image caption Cambois Pier in Northumberland was battered by heavy seas

In other flooding incidents:

  • A29 is shut due to flooding at Slindon and Berstead
  • A24 is shut southbound at Findon
  • Buses replace trains between Fareham and Eastleigh
  • Two cars stranded by flooding on the B3302 at Fraddam between Hayle and Helston
  • Deep flood water on roads including the A399 Ilfracombe to Watermouth
  • A landslip has partly blocked the A386 near Bideford
  • The Lymington River at Brockenhurst has burst its banks
  • The road and rail network is disrupted by floods in Hampshire
  • The B3269 near Lostwithiel is closed
  • The A341 in Wimborne Minster is closed in both directions at the Canford Magna junction
  • In Dorset several vehicles are stuck in flash floods in Holt Road, Three Legged Cross, Canford Arena, Canford Magna

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