Communities across the South West urged to be vigilant in next 24 hours as unpredictable rain and storms sweep through.

THE Environment Agency continues to warn communities in the South West to be vigilant and prepared for further heavy rain, which might result in further flooding.

The unsettled period of wet weather is predicted to continue across parts of the South West tomorrow (Friday) afternoon and possibly overnight. The Environment Agency is urging home owners to be aware of the risk of localised surface water flooding and possibly from some of the smaller water courses.

The Flood Forecasting Centre has predicted thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon which could result in local areas experiencing heavy rainfall. Due to the unsettled nature of the storms, it is difficult to predict the exact locations that might be affected at this stage.

Further showers are predicated on Saturday, but not as heavy, with less risk of rain on Sunday.

As the ground is currently saturated due to recent heavy rain rivers have responded from today’s rainfall and the Environment Agency has issued a number of flood alerts in Somerset and Dorset and a flood warning for the River Wey in Weymouth.

There is a possibility of further alerts and warnings tomorrow with the risk of further rainfall.

“We advise everyone to remain prepared for further heavy rainfall across the whole of the South west tomorrow afternoon and evening. At the moment we can’t be specific about where this rain might hit but we urge people to check the Environment Agency website for the latest situation and to sign up to receive flood warnings,” said Mark Russell for the Environment Agency.

Floodline Warnings Direct sends messages directly to those signed up when flooding is possible in the areas where they live. Warnings issued to homes and businesses by phone and text message includes localised information about potential flood risk from rivers and the sea, with clearer advice on actions to take to help safeguard lives and property.

People are warned not to drive or walk through flood water.

Environment Agency teams have been mobilised across the South West to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels. These teams have been working around the clock to reduce the risk of flooding, and will be out in force again over the coming days.

Agency staff are also meeting with flooded communities, gathering intelligence and information about what happened over the last few days and assisting with their recovery.

Those in flood risk areas can sign up to the Agency’s free flood warning system – the most immediate and localised source of information on flooding – by calling 0845 988 1188 or visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.

The Environment Agency updates its flood guidance every 15 minutes on its website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31618.aspx and you can follow the Environment Agency on Twitter at @EnvAgencySW.

Inset picture: Ian Williams.