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Floods force hundreds from homes
Torrential downpours that have flooded some parts of the UK with more than a month's rainfall in 24 hours should ease off throughout the day, weather experts said.
Hundreds of people spent the night in temporary accommodation after a second day of heavy rain brought flooding and travel chaos.
More than 300 properties have flooded across the country since Sunday, including in Morpeth, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Stockton on Tees, the Environment Agency said.
The first major storm of the autumn is set to ease off later, but with showers expected across the UK for much of the day, 91 flood warnings and 136 less severe flood alerts remain in place.
Emergency services dealt with hundreds of call-outs yesterday as people were left stranded by floodwaters and overflowing rivers surged into homes and businesses. Elderly residents at a council care home in North Yorkshire had to be carried to safety by firefighters yesterday after it became swamped by 3ft of water. Meanwhile, a modern block of flats had to be evacuated in Newburn, Newcastle, after its foundations appeared to have been washed away.
Roads and railways ground to a halt because of the rain and flooding, with the A1 and the East Coast Main Line among the routes hit by the conditions.
The Met Office said an area of low pressure measuring 973 millibars had been recorded near the coast of the north east of England - the lowest in the UK for September since 1981.
MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Ravensworth in North Yorkshire had seen the highest amount of rain, with 131mm recorded since the start of the heavy downpours on Sunday night. Some 93mm of rain had fallen in Leeming, North Yorkshire, which is almost double the average rainfall for the village in September (50mm).
Rhyl, north Wales, had recorded 95mm of rain since Sunday, while Northern Ireland has also seen heavy downpours. The Met Office said many places have had between 50mm and 70mm (2in to 2.8in) in the past 48 hours.
Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast to return to some southern areas with 20mm to 40mm (0.8in to 1.6in) likely in places. But Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, sounded a note of optimism, saying: "(Wednesday) is not going to be persistent rain like we have had, it will be more showery, mainly across East Anglia, down into London and across southern England into Wales. There will be heavy patches of rain, and even the risk of the odd thunder storm, but as we go through to this evening and over night, many places will become dry. (Thursday) it is likely to be a day of scattered showers."