After more than a week of heavy snow across much of Britain, householders and business people were on Friday warned to prepare for flooding at the weekend as heavy rain was predicted to hit at the same time the melt set in.
The Met Office anticipates that the last of the snow will drop on hills and northern Scotland on Saturday, but most of the rest of the UK will avoid further snowfall.
However, the trouble for many will start again on Sunday with up to 40mm of rain expected to fall on some hills in the west of Britain and between 10mm and 20mm widely.
Severe weather warnings are in place for much of the west of England, the Midlands and the north, where flooding is anticipated because of the combination of hard rain and rising temperatures that will cause deep snow and ice to melt. The warnings also cover parts of southern Scotland and eastern Wales.
Environment Agency teams were heading out over the weekend to shore up flood defences, monitor river levels and clear blockages from watercourses.
A spokesman said: “A combination of heavy rain and snowmelt may cause some surface water and river flooding. There is a chance of some significant disruption in places.”
By Friday night the Environment Agency had published more than 50 ‘flooding possible’ alerts in England and Wales, 35 of of them in the south-west. One ‘flooding expected’ warning was in place for West Moor, Hay Moor and Curry Moor on the Somerset Levels.
Meanwhile the AA warned motorists that the bad weather was likely to have left a trail of potholes in its wake.
Darron Burness, head of special operations, said: “Unfortunately, this cold snap followed the second wettest year on record so, quite understandably, the roads are showing some ill-effects with a ‘pothole storm’ on the horizon.
“As the snow melts, the temptation is to drive that bit faster but you need to keep a look out for potholes and other hazards like flooding. Keep your speed down – particularly in rural areas where potholes are more likely – and take extra care in the rain.”
The death toll from the current spell of bad weather continued to rise after it emerged that a man is thought to have frozen to death in woodland in Suffolk. Police are treating the death as unexplained.
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