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Europe

Floods dampen seasonal cheer in England, Scotland and Wales

Parts of northwest England already hit hard by flooding in recent weeks are under severe flood warnings. More heavy rain has been forecast, as the county of Cumbria records its wettest December in at least 105 years.

The UK Environment Agency on Saturday issued several flood alerts, flood warnings and severe flood warnings - the latter meaning that there is a danger of loss of life due to flooding in those areas.

Some areas were being evacuated in the Lancashire area after water breached flood barriers following torrential rains.

The agency on Friday warned communities in the north of England of potential "significant flooding" through Christmas night and into Boxing Day.

"The rain will fall on areas where the ground is already saturated and river levels are high," the agency said in a press release.

Paul Mustow, Deputy Director in Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency, urged residents to remain vigilant or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

"We also want to remind people never to drive through flood water: just 30cm (12 inches) of flowing water is enough to move your car," Mustow cautioned.

People in some towns have been asked to abandon their homes for higher ground, while others were told to move their valuables and listen to advice from emergency services about possible evacuation.

Watch video 00:47

Northwest England hit by torrential rains.

In some areas, sandbags and demountable barriers were deployed in advance, and temporary flood barriers and more than 20 extra pumps were brought to the north of England, four of them "high volume pumps capable of moving 1,000 liters of water per second."

Flood warnings, alerts

An army company has helped build temporary flood defenses in Cumbria in the northwest of England as residents struggled with the winter storms and heavy rains. That part of the country was still reeling from

Storm Desmond earlier this month.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart called the rainfall in the flooded areas unprecedented.The Met Office, according to the Environment Agency, "confirmed this is the wettest December on record for Cumbria since records began in 1910."

There were hundreds of flood warnings and alerts for other parts of England and Wales on Saturday as forecasts predicted more heavy rain. The Environment Agency urged people to take special care near coastal paths and promenades.

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