Flood alerts issued as heavy rain lashes UK

Flood alerts have been issued for the South West, south Wales and the Midlands, as forecasters warn the wet weather looks set to continue.

With the washout autumn of 2012 still fresh in the memory of farmers, forecasters are predicting a similar wet start to autumn this year.

Met Office forecaster Dan Williams said unsettled weather would continue for the next three to four weeks.

“It looks like a pretty wet week, especially for the South West and south Wales,” he said.

“Elsewhere, it will be a mixture of heavy rain and dry spells.”

On Monday afternoon (21 October) the Met Office had issued 10 “yellow” be flood alerts for Wales, seven for England – mostly in the Midlands – and three for Scotland, urging people to be aware of heavy downpours.

After a brief break from the rain on Saturday (26 October) forecasters are predicting the unsettled weather will return at the start of next week, although temperatures will remain mild.

The unsettled or changeable conditions are expected to continue into the start of November, with slightly above average rainfall at first.

Forecasters said there were some indications that from the second week of November, northern parts would remain changeable, with slightly more dry and settled conditions further south.

After a dry summer, the wet weather has come at an unwelcome time during the autumn drilling campaign – especially for growers in the west, of whom some have barely started.

On Monday (21 October) Farmers Weekly columnist Ian Pigott, who farms 700ha in Hertfordshire, said he still had around 70ha of oats and 15ha of wheat left to drill.

“A lot of people started drilling early and got off to a good start. Because of the low dormancy of blackgrass there has been a good opportunity to get a good kill,” he said.

“However, I am hearing reports of people having to pull up large areas of wheat planted this autumn because the blackgrass is so thick.

“On our farm, we will need about three days of dry weather before we can get on drilling at the moment. We haven’t got much left to do, but some people in the west have hardly started drilling crops yet.”

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