9 February 2014 (theguardian.com) – Forecasters have warned of another week of storms as the prime minister prepares to lead the latest emergency meeting about the flooding crisis.
Heavy rain and winds of more than 60mph are predicted to die down throughout Sunday but the brief respite will be broken by another storm arriving Monday night. More storms will continue to batter Britain until next weekend, it is predicted.
In Chertsey, Surrey police are investigating whether flooding was linked to the death of a seven-year-old boy, named in reports as Zane Gbangbola, who died after feeling unwell. An elderly woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a tree fell on to her car in Birmingham.
The West Country has been left completely cut off by rail and operators have put on replacement bus services and slashed ticket prices for passengers. Flooding at Athelney and between Taunton and Bridgwater in Somerset means that all mainline routes to the region from London have been closed. The diversionary route via Yeovil is closed at Crewkerne because of a landslip and is expected to remain shut for up to a week. […]
The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, chaired another meeting of the Cobra emergency committee on Saturday night and the prime minister, David Cameron, is expected to chair the meeting on Sunday.
Cameron has promised to do “everything he can” to help the flood-stricken communities. Pickles has taken a fresh swipe at the Environment Agency chief, Lord Smith, for his refusal to apologise to flood-hit victims.
The Met Office warned that river levels were expected to continue rising along the Thames, the Severn and the Dorset Stour in the coming week.
England has faced the wettest January since 1766 and with the ground already saturated further rainfall is increasing flood risk across the country, especially in the south. [more]