Floods warning as downpours persist

Swindon Advertiser: A house stands in flood water in Tewksbury, Gloucestershire A house stands in flood water in Tewksbury, Gloucestershire

Much of England and Wales is braced for flooding as further heavy rain continues to wreak havoc across the country.

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, which was devastated by flooding in July 2007, was on alert with the Environment Agency setting up an incident room there along with two others in the Midlands and another in the Wessex area.

The agency warned of localised flooding across parts of southern and eastern England, the Midlands and Wales, with a total of 31 flood warnings and 173 flood alerts in place on its website.

A spokeswoman said: "It's not unusual to experience heavy downpours and some flooding - mainly of farmland - at this time of year, but we're continuing to closely monitor the forecast and rainfall particularly in areas along the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon, including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

"Environment Agency teams are out on the ground continuing a close watch on river levels as well as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding."

Ian Lock, landlord of the Boat Inn at Ashleworth, which is south of Tewkesbury next to the River Severn, told the BBC the water was "worryingly high". "If we'd had a high tide on Saturday night we would have had trouble - thankfully we didn't - just another three or four feet and we would have had problems. We still could flood, the worry is if other towns further up the river put their flood defences up the water will come down here and we'll suffer."

Aisling Creevey, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the rain should ease off by the afternoon but heavy downpours would return on Tuesday. She said: "I can see anywhere between 15 and 30mm falling. It's difficult to see where the heaviest rain will fall. But most places should be dry by late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday morning."

Badminton horse trials fell victim to the weather, with organisers announcing the equestrian competition had been cancelled as the ground was "totally waterlogged and partially flooded" following the heavy rain.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had been due to attend the final day of the trials, which were to have run from Thursday to next Monday, to watch the showjumping element and present the final prizes.

But event director Hugh Thomas issued a statement which read: "The recent exceptional rainfall has left the ground at Badminton totally waterlogged and partially flooded. Further rain is due this week leaving no chance of the ground drying out. Very sadly therefore the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials has been cancelled."

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