Major incidents have been declared across the UK as authorities scramble to evacuate scores of people trapped by flooding from Storm Dennis.
The Environment Agency’s (EA) flood and coastal risk management executive director John Curtin said on Sunday that there were a record 594 warnings and alerts in force, with the Met Office issuing a rare “red alert” for rain.
Later on Sunday a series of major incidents were declared, first in South Wales, then in Herefordshire and later in Nottinghamshire which have borne the worst of the flooding.
A “life-threatening” alert was earlier issued in South Wales, where the Met Office issued a rare red warning due to heavy rainfall and flooding risk.
“It’s quite an extreme move but we have seen widespread falls across the whole region,” forecaster Greg Dewhurst said.
The Met Office said that winds of more than 80mph were recorded across parts of the country, with the highest measuring 91mph in Aberdaron in north Wales on Saturday.
A total of 156.2mm of rain fell at Crai Reservoir in Powys in the 48 hours from Friday to Sunday morning, it added.
Severe flood warning were issued for the Scottish Borders and for the River Neath in South Wales, while local media reported the River Taff had burst its banks at Pontypool.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said its teams had been working around the clock to evacuate people overnight.
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“We have received more than 600 calls overnight relating to the current flooding conditions,” they tweeted on Sunday morning.
“Unless your journey is essential please consider staying home this morning. If you are in immediate danger please contact us on 999.”
In the 24 hours to 7am, Tredegar in south-eastern Wales received 105 mm of rain, while the fastest gust recorded in same period was in Aberdaron where 91 mph was recorded at 6pm on Saturday.
Flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and easyJet confirming cancellations.
More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday were cancelled, while several sporting fixtures were also called off due to the weather.
Two bodies were pulled from rough seas on Saturday, before the worst of the storm hit.