Flood Alerts in UK as Heavy Rain Sweeps In

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

LONDON (AP) - Torrential rain pelted a large swath of Britain on
Friday, flooding roads, canceling concerts and turning practice for
the British Grand Prix into a puddle-churning ordeal. Authorities
issued almost 200 flood alerts or warnings across the country.

The Meteorological Office, the national weather agency, said
downpours were likely from southwestern England all the way up
north to Glasgow in Scotland and across the Irish Sea to Northern
Ireland.

Organizers of Sunday's British Grand Prix race told thousands of
Formula 1 fans to stay away from qualifying sessions on Saturday
after the deluge made some parking lots unusable.

"We've been in emergency meetings every two hours today with
the police, highways agencies, county council, emergency planning
to try and resolve the issues," said Richard Phillips, managing
director of the Silverstone race track. "But tomorrow there will
be 20,000 to 30,000 people we won't be able to properly cater
for."

About 80,000 fans turned out at Silverstone, 50 miles (80
kilometers) northwest of London, to watch training for the race on
Friday. Many faced traffic gridlock as they left.

Britain is even more prone to flooding than usual following the
wettest June on record, and the Environment Agency, which issued
the alerts and warnings, said, "The risk of flooding over the next
few days is expected to be the highest of the year so far."

Met Office forecaster Tony Waters said some places could see up
to 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain Friday - far more than the 60
millimeters (2.4 inches) that usually falls during the entire month
of July.

Flooding was reported Friday morning in northern England, where
six people were rescued from a mobile home park in North Yorkshire
after heavy rain left the site under 2 feet (0.6 meters) of water.

In Goole in northern England, emergency services rescued a man
on a disability scooter from water up to a meter (3 feet) deep
beneath an underpass.

Bad weather made Prince Charles an hour late for a visit to
Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, where his brown shoes became
mud-splattered as he met local officials to discuss efforts to
recover from floods two weeks ago. He also spent about 20 minutes
at a school chatting with staff, pupils and members of the
community who helped clean up from the floods.

Storm warnings also prompted the cancellation of Saturday's
MFEST music festival in Leeds in central England. The Human League, Texas, Bob Geldof and Cher Lloyd had all been booked to perform.


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