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Dorset Floods: The west bears the brunt as storms hit nationwide

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

Wading through floodwater in Evesham, Worcestershire

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Thousands of people in the South West and Wales were without power last night as heavy wind and rain brought chaos to large parts of the country for a second day.

Hundreds of drivers were stranded and more than 100 homes had to be evacuated as flood waters rose.

Many roads were left impassable as homeowners were again forced to protect their properties as water deluged swathes of the country.

Western Power said that 2,500 customers in the South West and 500 in Wales were without power because of high winds.

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The Met Office said some areas saw up to 2.5in of rain, causing further river and surface water flooding.

Much of the UK faced winds of up to 50-60mph, and even gusts of up to 70mph in western areas, which worsened surface water flooding as drains were blocked by wind-blown leaves and debris.

More wet weather is forecast across tomorrow and Sunday, with the possibility of further significant disruption.

The majority of areas at risk are in south west England and the Midlands.

Of areas in the West, Wiltshire was at most risk of more flooding last night, the Environment Agency warned, with Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight also on high alert.

The gusty winds were so bad that high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorcycles were banned from using the Tamar Bridge, which connects Devon and Cornwall.

Many train services in the South West and connecting it to London Paddington were either cancelled or delayed.

There are currently 87 flood warnings for rivers and more than 190 less serious flood alerts in place across England and Wales.

The Coastguard received a call about a canoeist spotted being dragged out to sea in 73mph winds off Burgh Island, near Salcombe on the south Devon coast, though he was able to get himself to shore.

The weather also took its toll on Christmas lights switch-on events, with those planned for today in Plymouth and Exeter, two of the cities worst-hit by the rainfall and stormy gales, cancelled.

The AA said it had its busiest day for flood-related call-outs in history yesterday, with 804 requests for help, and commuters again suffered major disruption today.

Nationwide, the organisation attended around 4,600 breakdowns by noon yesterday, with up to 900 incidents being reported every hour.

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