UK weather: rain disrupts Easter weekend events amid flood warnings

07 04 2024 | 16:55PA Media / THE GUARDIAN

Environment Agency issues 17 warnings in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, and 132 alerts across southern England

Flooding caused by heavy rain has disrupted many Easter weekend events in the UK.

The Met Office said more rain was forecast over the bank holiday weekend, with travel disruption likely as a band of heavy rain moves across England and Wales on Monday.

The Environment Agency issued 17 warnings for expected flooding across parts of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire on Saturday morning.

It also issued 132 flood alerts across southern England, which means flooding is possible in those areas, after several days of heavy rainfall across the UK.

Worcestershire county cricket club’s grounds were covered in water on Saturday, while horse racing at Musselburgh racecourse, near Edinburgh, was rained off due to a waterlogged track.

Craig Snell, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “For England and Wales, generally today’s the best for the sunshine.

“Tomorrow, if you’re up early enough, it’s not going to be a bad start but it starts to go a bit downhill as we go from the afternoon onwards, and Monday certainly looks very wet in places.”

The heaviest of the rain will fall from Yorkshire southwards and the Met Office said it was watching to see if weather warnings needed to be issued.

An area of cloud in the North Sea will move into England and Wales on Easter Sunday, leading to grey skies and light rain. A band of heavy rain will then move across England and Wales in the early hours of Monday and stay throughout the day.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will hold on to brighter weather across both days.

Snell said: “If anyone’s doing any travelling on Monday, maybe allow some extra time for journeys because, regardless of whether or not we have any warnings out there, there’ll be some fairly poor travelling conditions at times.”

Musselburgh’s premier race meeting, due to feature the £100,000 Virgin Bet Queen’s Cup, was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

The course’s general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said on social media: “Unfortunately racing today has been abandoned. We had 15mm of rain yesterday and we had a further just over 3mm this morning.

“The ground is very wet; it has been an incredibly wet winter.

“Normally Musselburgh would take this rain no problem but just because it is so wet and the water table is very high it hasn’t taken it so well and the ground is saturated in places.”

The day of racing was to have included family events, including the annual corgi derby featuring racing dogs.

Cover photo: The flooded New Road ground of Worcestershire county cricket club. Photograph: Jacob King/PA