Great Britain

Brits face second day of Christmas getaway hell with 31million to battle flood-ravaged roads and railways

BRITS face a second day of Christmas getaway hell with 31million set to battle Britain's flood-ravaged roads and railways.

Fresh showers today could wreak renewed havoc in southern England as the Met Office issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain in the region.

Meteorolgoist Alex Deakin warned of an "angry weather system" that would also bring some "very strong winds".

Some 101 flood warnings - where flooding is expected - are in place for England, alongside 256 flood alerts, which warn flooding is possible.

In Leatherhead, Surrey, flood defences have gone up amid fears that the river Mole would submerge parts of the high street and surrounding houses.


On Friday, adverse weather led to the nine-hour queues on the M23 motorway as flooding caused it to be closed in both directions.

Sussex Police described driving conditions in the region as "miserable", and said there was "a lot of standing water on the roads".

Devon and Cornwall Police said flooding across the force area made "a number of roads impassable" and urged motorists to take extra care and avoid driving into standing water.

Highways England has urged motorists to adapt their driving for wet weather by slowing down, keeping well back from the vehicle in front and easing off the accelerator if steering becomes unresponsive.

The Met Office has warned that up to 30mm of rain is forecast in parts during the heavy rain warning period, which runs until noon on Sunday.

Mr Deakin added: "Because it's been so very wet across the south this extra rain falling onto saturated ground could cause some further problems, so there is a weather warning in force scooting along southern counties during Saturday evening."

Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services were affected after rail lines were flooded.

Rail passengers also suffered miserable journeys as landslides blocked Southern train lines in Surrey, Kent, Essex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Devon.

A month-long strike by guards on South Western Railway has resulted in hundreds of services being cancelled each day in cities including London Waterloo, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth.

John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail's southern region, said the combination of one of the wettest autumns since records began with a month's worth of rainfall in the past five days has put the rail network "under enormous pressure".

An RAC survey suggested 4.7 million leisure trips by car would be taken yesterday, as many people embarked on the Christmas getaway.

Drivers were advised to set off after 4pm today to avoid the worst of the traffic.

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