Flood fears grow as heavy rain forecast

An Atlantic frontal system approaching the British Isles in a surface pressure analysis image released by the Met Office on January 18, 2008. REUTERS/Met Office/Handout

LONDON (Reuters) - Residents in flood-prone areas were on high alert on Friday as more rain swept in and forecasters predicted downpours for the weekend.

As a new Atlantic front hits Britain just days after more than 70 flood warnings were issued, the Met Office predicted as much as 100 mm of rain could fall in exposed upland areas of Wales, south west England and the Lake District.

Fears have been raised that many areas would be subjected to flooding for the second time in less than a year.

“The weather over the next three days is certainly cause for concern,” Met office operations director, Keith Groves, said in a statement. “Our main focus is Friday and Saturday but heavy rain could continue into Sunday and it is a cumulative effect that is causing the current problems.”

The Environment Agency’s national flood warning duty officer, Doug Whitfield, said many rivers were close to bursting their banks.

“Although we are paying close attention to the rivers Wye (central Wales), Dee (Wales and western England) and Severn (western England), we are continuing to closely monitor all rivers across England and Wales during this period of wet weather,” he said in a statement.

Groves said there should be some respite from the wet weather next week with drier conditions brought about by a new pressure system.

Reporting by Andrew Hough; Editing by Jeremy Lovell