Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

Clear-up after UK flash flooding

Drivers on a flooded road in Gloucestershire
Floods caused travel chaos in parts of south-west England

A huge clear-up operation is under way after torrential rain caused flash flooding in parts of England, Wales and Scotland, with water entering homes.

Somerset and Devon were especially badly affected, with roads submerged and people trapped in their homes.

A young woman died in Dorset when her car crashed off the road during a heavy rain storm.

At Crawley in East Sussex, dozens of residents of a care home had to be led to safety.

On Saturday night the Environment Agency had 258 floods warnings in place, 100 in the South West, 48 in the Midlands, and 30 in Wales.

In Somerset, an 86-year-old man died after his car became caught up in flooding in a country lane near South Petherton.

Henry Collier, a gardener who lived in Over Stratton, was described as a "lovely, lovely man" by his local vicar, the Reverend David Jasper.

Thirty other people were rescued from their vehicles and homes, and more than 200 people in the county found their cellars and ground floors under water.

Floating

Officers are investigating whether the weather was a factor in an accident on the A35 near Poole, which killed a 22-year-old female motorist.

Train services between London, Bristol and the south-west of England were disrupted.

Norman Evans, of Devon and Somerset Fire Service, said the service had received hundreds of calls.

Road conditions were "atrocious", he said. The worst hit areas were said to be Chard, Ilminster, Shepton Mallet and Street.

In the village of Walton, near Street, residents Jane and Tony Bird said their 11-year-old son, Jack, who had slept on a mattress downstairs with friends, woke up floating.

Swansea Coastguard has reported that a helicopter had been deployed to flooded areas in the county.

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Flooding scenes in Exeter, Street, Walton, Bruton and Wellington

Six people were rescued from their homes in Weymouth in Dorset after a river burst its banks and in Wiltshire, fire crews attended 80 flooded homes and answered a total of 200 calls requesting help.

Fire crews have pumped water out of about 60 properties, and they are warning several households may not be able to return home for days, if not weeks.

Further north in Cheshire, fire crews rescued a woman from the roof of her car shortly before 0700 GMT after she became stranded because of floodwater in Crewe.

The weather also caused problems for sport, with persistent rain resulting in the abandonment of Cheltenham Racecourse's meeting on Saturday.

Meanwhile, flooding has caused problems for householders in parts of mid and west Wales.

Firefighters pumped out properties in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire after heavy rain overnight.

The most calls were from Fishguard with others coming from Newcastle Emlyn, Llanelli, Haverfordwest and Pontardawe.

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