- Written by James Gregory and Michael Shiels McNamee
- BBC News
Parts of the UK are experiencing another day of disruptive weather, with heavy rain and hundreds of flood alerts and warnings.
The Met Office's yellow warning for rain blanketing southern England came into effect at midday and will remain in place until 03:00 GMT on Friday.
The warning, which extends from Cornwall to East Anglia, indicates the possibility of power outages and travel disruption.
This comes just days after parts of Wales and England were hit by Storm Henk.
The Met Office said there was a chance of 20 to 30 mm of rain within six to nine hours on Thursday across part of the area covered by the warning, with some places possibly seeing up to 50 mm.
“Impacts are more likely due to the currently very wet ground across the region,” the weather agency added.
Rainwater falling on already saturated ground could lead to localized flooding, with the Met Office warning there is a “small chance” of communities being cut off.
At 13:00 GMT, there were 215 active flood warnings in most parts of England, two in Scotland and one in Wales, which also has a severe flood warning on the River Rythick at Tenby. There are also more than 270 flood alerts across England and Wales.
Nottinghamshire County Council has declared a major flood incident and the risk of further flooding.
The authorities took the decision due to rising river levels along the River Trent. The council warned that levels could approach the highest levels recorded in 2000.
Residents living in areas at risk of flooding were advised to evacuate.
People living in areas covered by flood warnings should act by turning off gas, water and electricity supplies, moving items upstairs or to a safe place, and moving household, pets and car to a safe place, according to the Environment Agency, which covers England.
Great Western Rail, which links London to southwest England and south Wales, said more trains could be canceled after its services were disrupted earlier this week.
GWR services between Swindon and Bristol Parkway remain closed due to flooding on tracks during Storm Henk, with services diverted via Bath or Temple Meads, adding up to 40 minutes to passenger journeys.
The railway company added that its passengers can expect further disruption if high levels of rain return to areas already affected by severe weather earlier this week.
“With further flood warnings in place and the amount of rain expected, Network Rail has identified key locations in Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall as being at risk of flooding from approximately 15:00,” the company said in a statement. “It will not be able to work through these areas.”
She added that services between Paddington and Swindon would operate but could be affected by flooding elsewhere.
GWR said customers who had tickets for later services on Thursday could use them on earlier trains.
BBC weather presenter Sarah Keith Lucas said the flooding situation could worsen in many southern counties from Cornwall to Norfolk.
“Strong winds will also pose a risk, especially near the south coast and the Channel Islands, where wind speeds can reach more than 50 miles per hour,” she said.
“Rain and winds will shift eastwards, eventually clearing the coast of East Anglia during tomorrow morning.
“At the weekend, high pressure is set to gradually build, bringing us a much-needed period of drier, calmer and cooler weather, although it will take several days for some flooded areas to dry out.
“The forecast for next week is less rain and more sunshine but also a drop in temperature too. Frost and fog are likely to return for some.”
The UK's Health Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert across England, which will come into force on Saturday and last until next Tuesday.
Storm Henk hit the UK on Tuesday, packing winds of up to 81mph and heavy rain.
Gloucestershire Police said a driver in his 50s was killed by a falling tree near the town of Kemble in the Cotswolds.
There were also delays in the country's railway and road networks due to floods and power outages.
Farmers are calling on the government to invest more in river defenses in rural areas to protect UK food production.
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