UK swamped by floods, pounded by waves
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 1:30 PM -
Large swaths of the United Kingdom are being hammered by the weather, either through rising flood waters, or powerful tides whipped up by strong winds.
Southwest England and parts of coastal Wales in particular have suffered the most.
Parts of Somerset have been underwater for more than a month, according to the Associated Press.
Coming up next, Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis discusses flooding in the Somerset Levels pic.twitter.com/UmGBks5znD— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) January 31, 2014
With no let-up in sight, police in helicopters warned residents of around 150 properties in the area to evacuate the area.
This wouldn't be a surprise to area residents. With hundreds upon hundreds of millimetres of rainfall, the country saw its rainiest January in almost 250 years. All the additional rainfall of the past few days has fallen onto ground already saturated.
Somerset areas have criticized authorities' slow response to the crisis, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged $163 million on new flood defenses in the coming year.
The coastal regions of the southwest, including Wales and Cornwall meanwhile, have had their own problems.
Winds of more than 140 km/h whipped the sea up into huge waves that have done extensive damage to coastal infrastructure and waterfronts.
At least one person was swept out to sea in the Sussex area, while six sailors off the Cornish coast had to be rescued by navy helicopters.
The waves crumbled a section of seawall beneath a major railway at Dawlish in the county of Devon, causing it to collapse and severe one of the major rain links between London and the region.
In Wales, 10 people aboard a bus in the Pembrokeshire region were trapped when a huge wave collided with it, as it was travelling on a coastal road in the process of being closed for safety reasons.
None of the passengers were injured, but towns across the Welsh coast are assessing the damage to their infrastructure in the wake of the damaging seas.
Almost 200 flood warnings or alerts are in effect across the UK according to the country's Environment Agency.
With files from the Associated Press.
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