Rain-lashed Britain shows no sign of drying up as downpours are set to continue through the weekend and into next week.
Much of England and Wales will continue to be soaked, and conditions will become more unpleasant as strong winds and downpours hit tonight. Drought-afflicted areas are braced for the possibility of flash floods as up to 40mm of rain is forecasted to fall in places.
England and Wales have experienced the wettest week since December with forecasters seeing no sign of the rain letting up and supermarkets reporting soaring sales of wellies and umbrellas in the face of the deluge.
The Environment Agency has warned of the possibility of localised flooding across parts of the South West, South East and Midlands, East of England and Wales on Sunday as the wet weather moves in.
Its spokeswoman said: "There is a risk of localised flooding on Sunday and Monday across parts of southern and eastern England, Midlands and Wales. The Environment Agency is closely monitoring the forecast and rainfall particularly in Worcestershire, as the river levels are already higher than normal in the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon.
"Environment Agency officers are out monitoring river levels, checking defences and clearing any potential blockages, such as fallen branches and debris, to reduce the risk of flooding. Residents who live near rivers like the Severn should register for the Environment Agency's free flood warnings service and everyone can keep up to date by checking our website, calling our Floodline on 0845 988 1188 and looking out for updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages."
Many of the areas at risk of floods are currently in a state of drought, which is gripping the South East, East Anglia, the Midlands, the South West and South and East Yorkshire after two unusually dry winters in a row. In its latest weekly drought briefing, the Environment Agency said all regions had now received above average rainfall for April, boosting river levels and providing relief for farmers, gardeners and wildlife in drought areas.
But groundwater levels remained low and the rain was not yet making a difference to the drought conditions, the agency warned. And soil affected by prolonged dry weather is increasing the risk of flash floods as heavy rain quickly runs off hard, compacted ground.
Chris Burton, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said: "Another rain system is coming up from the south, it's heavy and persistent across East Anglia and the South East and will gradually spread north west over England through the Midlands and Wales through the night."
Temperatures overnight could dip to -3C (26F) in parts of Scotland and Sunday promises to see the sun emerge but England could be buffeted by winds of 60mph and rain will continue in the south of the country on Monday. Tuesday will see heavy rain across Wales, the Midlands, the South East and East Anglia but the rain will be more showery in the South West.