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27 February 2010, 08:45
The Environment Agency and Met Office say heavy rain over the weekend could cause rivers to flood.
Heavy rainfall on already wet ground across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight could lead to potential flooding from rivers.
As wells as this, strong winds and high tides forecast for early next week could also increase the risk of flooding along the region’s coastline.
In preparation for this further period of wet and adverse weather, Environment Agency Officers have been busy working throughout the week to monitor river levels, check flood defences and ensure drains are clear.
A number of Flood Watches have already been issued in parts of the region and these may increase as rivers respond to rainfall this weekend. Across the south east around 50 to 75mm of rain has already fallen so far this week, and with more heavy rain forecast over the weekend and into next week the Environment Agency is encouraging people living in areas at risk of flooding to remind themselves of the action they must take to prepare for possible flooding.
Andrew Gilham, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency’s Southern Region, said:
"We’ve had a lot of rain during this week and as a result the ground is now saturated and river levels have risen. Our staff are out in force working tirelessly to reduce any possible risk of flooding across the region.
"Now is an ideal time for anyone living in an area vulnerable to flooding to think about the steps they can take to protect their properties. By taking simple precautions we can limit the damage a flood can leave behind.
"We are receiving regular detailed forecasts from the Met Office, continuously monitoring river levels and have had officers out throughout the week checking river levels and clearing blockages to prepare for the rainfall. Thankfully we’ve not yet had any reports of properties flooded but with flood watches and warnings being issued we could see some instances of flooding."
Richard Young, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said:
"After the wet weather this week we are expecting more heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, over southern England on Sunday. We are monitoring how the situation develops and you are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecast".
The Environment Agency provides a 24-hour flood warning service for England and Wales. Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service that gives advance warning of flooding by telephone, mobile, fax or pager.
The Environment Agency recently announced plans to sign up almost 50,000 additional homes and businesses at risk of flooding in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Isle of Wight to automatically receive free flood warnings next month.
For advice on steps you can take to protect yourself and you property call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Further advice and latest information on flood warnings is also available here .