Residents braced amid flood alerts

Britain was on flood alert on Thursday night as high winds and heavy rainfall was set to batter the south coast.

The Environment Agency has warned residents - many of whom are still mopping up after last month's widespread flooding - to brace themselves for a combination of heavy rainfall and storm surges.

Eleven flood warnings have been issued across the South West, with a further 32 areas on the south coast told to prepare for possible flooding.

Coastal communities in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall are likely to be worst hit as spring tides and strong south-easterly winds hit the coast.

Between 25mm and 40mm of rain is expected to fall on higher ground in the South West on Thursday night and Friday morning, with other areas likely to see 15-20mm of rain.

Offshore waves of up to 10m are expected across the south coast as winds increase and conditions deteriorate, with heavy rain set to arrive in the early hours of tomorrow.

A spokesman for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "A band of heavy rain is going to move through the south west of England throughout Friday morning, bringing 15-20mm of rain in places. On Friday afternoon there will be scattered heavy showers across the south west as the band of rain moves north east.

"On Saturday and Sunday there will be heavy showers arriving in most western and southern parts of the UK. You could see some fairly heavy downpours in areas. It will be quite breezy, so the showers will move through quite quickly."

The public has been advised to stay away from seafronts, quaysides and jetties along the south coast to avoid powerful waves. The agency said there was also a risk of flooding in south and west Wales, where ground remains saturated from last month's heavy rainfall.

The south east coastline is also being closely monitored, with between 10-20mm of rain expected to fall in parts of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent.

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