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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Flood-hit UK braced for more rain
Flooding at Toll Bar, South Yorkshire
Many parts of the country are still affected by flooding
Britain is set to be hit by more heavy rain following severe floods which killed at least four people.

Forecasters say up to 50mm (2in) of rain could fall in parts of the country on Saturday, and the Met Office has issued an early severe weather warning.

More than 3,000 properties in the UK have been flooded, it is estimated.

Fire crews have rescued around 3,500 people this week. The Fire Brigades Union has described the rescue effort as the "biggest in peacetime Britain".

In other developments:

  • More than 350 people have been evacuated from their homes in north Doncaster after the River Don burst its banks, flooding villages, including Bentley

  • The body of a man has been pulled from Torksey Lock near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, following a huge search by emergency services. He is believed to have fallen into the Fosdyke Canal when his dinghy capsized but it is not yet known if his death is flood-related.

  • The earlier search for a man reported to have fallen into a flooded drainage dyke near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, is thought to have been a false alarm

  • Rotherham Borough Council says the risk that the Ulley dam could be breached has "significantly reduced".

  • Farmers have also been badly hit. In Humberside, farmers say the rain has destroyed a quarter of Britain's national crop of peas.

  • FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said the fire service had received more than 7,300 calls to flood-related incidents on Monday and Tuesday, and warned it was being stretched to the "point of collapse".

    The main event is going to be this weekend. There will be plenty of wet, windy weather across the country on Saturday
    BBC Weather Centre spokesman

    He accused the government of underestimating the scale of the flood.

    Hundreds of families in the worst-hit areas are still unable to return to their homes, and thousands are still without power.

    However, more rain is predicted.

    There is expected to be rainfall of 15-25mm (up to 1in) on Saturday, although some places could see 40-50mm (up to 2in).

    Tracy Saunders

    BBC weather forecaster Jay Wynne said: "Today it's a pretty reasonable day. One or two light showers. There will be some rain overnight.

    "The main event is going to be this weekend. There will be plenty of wet, windy weather across the country on Saturday.

    "It could be quite nasty. The good thing is it's not going to be a stalled weather front where it's stuck in the same place. This system will be moving through."

    Refuges

    This week's floods have been most severe in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands.

    A huge operation has been undertaken to pump out water from the reservoir behind the Ulley dam near Rotherham, and reinforce the embankment.

    The M1 reopened as a result, but police warned it could be closed again at short notice if the risk from the dam increased.

    HAVE YOUR SAY
    People are trying to clean their houses but are worried the nearby dam may burst
    Melanie, Rotherham

    About 1,300 people affected by flooding across South Yorkshire spent their third night away from home on Wednesday.

    Families from Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield slept in refuges including local schools and student residences.

    Some residents who live downstream from the Ulley dam were told they could return home on Thursday.

    Assistant Chief Constable Mark Whyman said despite the predicted rain he did not think the scenes witnessed earlier this week would be repeated.

    He said: "The initial concerns about heavy rain are significantly reduced now."

    The Queen has expressed her shock at the devastation caused by the flooding. She said her thoughts were with people who had lost family, friends and homes.

    And Prince Charles intends to visit flood victims on Friday.

    One of the flood-related deaths occurred at Hessle, near Hull, when Michael Barnett, 28, got stuck in a drain.

    In Sheffield, Peter Harding, 68, died in floodwater after leaving his car.

    In a separate incident in the city, 14-year-old Ryan Parry was killed when he was swept away in the River Sheaf at Millhouses.

    At Pershore, Worcestershire, county court judge Eric Dickinson, 68, was found dead in his submerged car.

    The Environment Agency has in place 10 severe flood warnings and 52 standard flood warnings.


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