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The BBC's Ben Brown
"The new flooding has brought more chaos for the railways"
 real 56k

Friday, 8 December, 2000, 18:16 GMT
Two die as floods return
Two vehicles trapped in floods
Floods have stranded vehicles across the country
Floods and severe storms have brought chaos to many parts of the UK.

South West England and South Wales were worst hit and in Devon the weather conditions claimed the lives of two people after their car was swept off a road on Friday.

The high waters and storm damage are causing major disruption on the roads, with the AA warning that the situation is "quite treacherous for drivers".

Delay-weary rail passengers have also been hit hard by the severe weather, which brought further disruption to parts of the network.

A total of 125 flood warnings remain in place across England and Wales, with four severe flood warnings on the River Severn at Worcester, the River Teme in Bransford, and two parts of the River Monnow in south east Wales.

Storms moving north over the Irish sea and Northern Ireland are expected to hit western Scotland early on Saturday morning.

Two deaths

Emergency services were called to Cheriton Fitzpaine, in mid-Devon, after a Honda car crashed through the wall of a bridge and landed upside down in a flooded river.

Firefighters dragged the car onto the river bank, and the body of a woman was recovered from inside.

A short time later a man's body was found nearby.
Those hit by the last floods are expecting more trouble
Police say the man and woman have not yet been identified, but the car is understood to be registered locally.

In Wales several motorists were trapped in their cars in several feet of water.

Devon and Cornwall police spokesman, Stuart Elford, said the force was dealing with "dozens and dozens" of traffic accidents. It received 120 flood-related calls overnight.

Broken down vehicles are littering the roads and many remain closed.

"All our units are being stretched to the limit," Mr Elford said.

The weather is just horrendous and is causing us huge problems

Stuart Elford, Devon and Cornwall Police
"The weather is just horrendous and is causing us huge problems.

"People need to slow down, drive carefully and not drive through floodwater unless they are absolutely sure it is not too deep for them to go through."

Losing battle

Somerset Fire Service said it was "inundated" with calls for help.

In Gloucestershire, fire-fighters said they were "fighting a losing battle" to protect homes in the Forest of Dean.

A spokeswoman said a number of properties in the Drybrook, Coleford and Mitcheldean areas had been flooded.

She said the situation seemed to be worsening and the service was beginning to get calls from other parts of the county, particularly in the Winchcombe area north of Cheltenham.

Police said much of West Wales had been practically cut off by floods.

Weather image
The bad weather is now moving north
High winds have forced the closure of the Severn Crossing near Bristol.

A landslide has closed part of the railway line between Hereford and Abergavenny in Gwent.

In Dorset, the River Frome has burst its banks.

The River Avon also burst its banks at Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

In Northern Ireland, parts of east Belfast as well as Newry, County Down, and Newtownards, County Down, are under 3ft of water.

The Met Office said gale force winds of more than 80mph are expected in some areas "with some structural damage possible".

There are fears that this weekend's weather could be as severe as on 30 October, when tornados hit the south coast of England.

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See also:

07 Dec 00 | UK
Floods website swamped
31 Oct 00 | UK Politics
Prescott pledges to learn storm lessons
30 Oct 00 | UK
You think this is bad?
30 Oct 00 | UK
Storms lash Britain
08 Dec 00 | UK
In pictures: Flood misery
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