Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anxiously Watching Heavens Yet Again; Fear Rain May Lead to New Flooding Chaos

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anxiously Watching Heavens Yet Again; Fear Rain May Lead to New Flooding Chaos

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher

PEOPLE in the North East are being warned to brace themselves for another soaking a week after torrential rain caused widespread floods.

Forecasters say another band of bad weather is set to hit the region today and tomorrow, with more than a month's rain falling in the next 36 hours.

A severe weather alert has been issued by the Met Office, who say more flooding is "likely" as the ground is already saturated from a rainy June.

Yesterday parts of County Durham were affected by local flash flooding which caused some road closures.

Bridges in Whorlton and Kinninvie, near Barnard Castle, were closed and the A691 at Lanchester was temporarily closed due to surface water.

Durham Police said contingency plans were in place to prepare for possible further extreme weather which is forecast for the weekend.

That miserable forecast has already seen the Race for Life in Newcastle postponed this weekend, and organisers of other events are nervously watching the skies.

A slow moving band of "heavy and persistent" rain which is "likely to lead to surface water flooding", is expected to move up from the south of the region today, says the Met Office, which has issued an amber weather alert, the second most severe category that can be given. There is also "an increasing likelihood of river flooding" as the rain continues into tomorrow.

Forecasters say up to 100mm (3.9 inches) of rain could fall in some areas in 36 hours. The average UK rainfall for July in northern England is 64.4mm (2.5 inches).

David Dangerfield, the Environment Agency's regional director, said river levels are likely to rise as the ground is still saturated from last weeks' deluge.

He said teams are already monitoring river levels and clearing blockages to prevent flooding around culverts and bridges. They are also checking flood defences across the region to make sure they are ready to operate.

"Our current forecasts mean we could be issuing widespread flood alerts and warnings, so we urge people to be prepared," said Mr Dangerfield. …

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