Travel misery as floods hit Britain

2012-12-23 22:35
Torrential rain has hammered much of Britain and is showing no signs of abating, with southern and southwestern England the worst affected. (Jon Super, AP)

Torrential rain has hammered much of Britain and is showing no signs of abating, with southern and southwestern England the worst affected. (Jon Super, AP)

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London - Heavy flooding across parts of Britain caused widespread road and rail disruption on Sunday, wreaking havoc on Christmas travel plans while rescuers worked to evacuate people from the hardest-hit communities.

Torrential rains lashed parts of Britain last week, causing problems especially in south Wales, southwest England and near Aberdeen in Scotland.

The Environment Agency said rescuers helped residents of 25 flooded homes evacuate after the River Exe burst its banks in Stoke Canon in the southwestern English county of Devon. Homes were also flooded in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen.

In Umberleigh, near Barnstaple in Devon, rescue workers in a lifeboat saved a woman who was clinging to a tree by a flooded river.

She had been swept away while trying to climb onto the roof of her car. Passers-by rescued her husband and son, who had been in the car with her.

In the county of Cornwall, next to Devon, local authorities said at least 170 homes had been affected by floods.

Although the rains slowed a little during the day, more precipitation was expected in the southwest late on Sunday.

"We certainly haven't heard the last of the flooding stories," said Tony Conlan, a forecaster with Meteogroup.

"There is no sign of settled weather on the way for at least the next week."

The bad weather disrupted rail services across Britain, with trains in Devon and Cornwall especially affected.

Flooding on roads caused additional headaches for Christmas commuters.

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