Sunday, December 23, 2012

Woman rescued from floodwaters as Britain braces for more bad weather

Amelia Hill in the Guardian (UK): A woman spent almost an hour clinging to a tree in the middle of a fast-flowing flooded river before a police helicopter spotted her in the early hours of Sunday morning. The swollen waters had swept the unnamed woman from her car and she was fighting to stay afloat when the Devon and Cornwall police helicopter saw her.

Rescued by a RNLI lifeboat, she was treated for exposureThe woman was then reunited with a man and a child who had been trapped in the car when the River Taw broke its banks and had been rescued by firefighters. The dramatic rescue came as forecasters predicted more rain would fall in the next few days: 165 flood warnings were in place across all regions of England – as well as in Wales.

The wet but warm weather has led to dozens of people being moved to emergency shelters, with more warned they too could be forced to leave their homes to escape the rising floodwaters. The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for rain on Christmas Day, covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Somerset.

Rail services warned that trains were so badly affected that many of those hoping to travel to see friends and family for Christmas must expect considerable disruption. Those using the First Great Western rail service have been told not to make "non-essential" journeys.

Scotland has had 30 flood warnings, with Perthshire, Tayside, and Angus particularly badly affected. And significant flooding in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen, has led to about 60 people being relocated and a reception centre being set up at Mackie Academy....

Winter floods at Bickleigh in 2006, shot by Pauline Burden, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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