Britain was battered by flash floods today – causing chaos for millions as the severe weather conditions caused rail and road closures.
The country was hit by such a deluge of rain that busy roads were closed and trains were forced to reverse up the track to avoid heavily-flooded areas.
The Environment Agency issued 20 flood warnings – 15 of which were for areas in the South West.
All trains coming into Bristol from the south were cancelled, as stranded locomotives could go through areas where the track was underwater.
London-bound trains were diverted elsewhere, but the rest were forced to reverse up the track to Yatton, Somerset, where homeowners filled sandbags in a vain attempt to stem rising floodwaters.
The River Yeo was at its highest ever levels – with the new record 1.42m more than 500mm higher than normal.
Claverham Road, in Yatton, was among the dozens of roads in the region that were closed by flooding, creating gridlock traffic and forcing some motorists to abandon their cars.
Local websites dedicated their home page to advising worried residents about the flooding.
Claverham village’s website read: “WEATHER WARNING: Monday 24th September – Severe flooding in Claverham and surrounding areas. Claverham Road closed, please check with local news for updates on road closures.”
Disruption to the rail lines was so great that Network Rail was forced to take to the internet to notify travellers about the disruption.
A representative tweeted: “#ukrain – Flooding is also now affecting trains between Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol, with the line to Bristol currently closed”
On the Network Rail website, extended journey times of up to an hour were being reported.
Trains were unable to run between Bristol Temple Meads, Weston-super-Mare and Taunton, and passengers were being diverted onto buses, which were unable to traverse the submerged roads.
Somerset was battered by 60mph winds, and places saw up to 60mm of rain.
The Met Office heightened their weather warning of the region to an amber alert for severe weather.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “The public should be prepared for an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding during this period.”
The M32 in Bristol was turned into a sheet of water by the downpour, which reduced visibility and made driving conditions very treacherous.
One motorist, who drove into Bristol along the M4 and M32, said: “The weather was pretty terrible, but for the last few miles of the M4 it was just dreadful.
“I had to drop my speed to about 30, just because I could hardly see, and even then I still didn’t feel safe.
“It was terrible – I’ve never seen conditions like it.”
Avon and Somerset Police published more than 20 reports on their website as torrential rain affected roads across the region.
They even issued a warning, which said: “We are warning motorists to take particular care as they travel today following heavy rainfall in the area.
“There have been reports of spray and surface water across Avon and Somerset.
“Please allow extra time for your journey and consider if you really need to travel this morning.
“If you do, motorists are reminded to avoid going through deep water – a small number of motorists have already become stranded in their vehicles.
“Motorists should not be unduly worried by this as it is not causing significant problems but should be prepared for the wet weather.”
A spokesman for Avon Fire and Rescue said: “Our advice to people is to think about whether you really need to make that journey and if you do please allow plenty of time for your journey.
“Please drive safely and allow plenty of room around you if you do have to drive through a large patch of water please test your brakes after.”
The South West is expected to take a further soaking over the next 24 hours, with upwards of 100mm expected to fall in certain areas.
This terrible weather system was created in the Azores where a second depression spawned off Hurricane Nadine and headed Northwards before hitting smashing into England on Sunday.
The heavy rainfall is expected to move northwards, leading to areas of localised flooding in the Midlands.
On Sunday, Filton in Bristol was the second wettest place in the country, with 62.8mm of rain falling in just 24 hours – 64.6mm fell in the wettest place, Hereford.
People worried about flooding are urged to call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.