Wet weather which has caused flooding in Essex is not coming to an end anytime soon, forecasters warn

09:55 03 February 2014

Communities in Essex were last night warned that the unsettled weather which has caused flooding in parts of the county is showing no signs of ending in the coming weeks.

Forecasters say the prolonged period of wet and windy conditions has meant the ground has become saturated and rivers have topped their banks – there were still flood alerts in place last night for areas along the River Chelmer.

Chris Bell, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said the scenes in Essex are as a result of sustained periods of wet weather. A lack of sunshine means there is no time for the water to evaporate.

He added: “The ground is saturated so there is nowhere for any new rain to go - it goes to the river which leads to some of it toppling its banks.

“We have been in a period of unsettled weather and it doesn’t take a lot really.

“The weather pattern that has been doing this – my gut feeling is that it isn’t going to change any time soon.”

Mr Bell said that there is not much rain expected to fall today, but it is expected to return on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Firefighters in Essex have also now sent out a warning to motorists about the dangers posed by flood water after being called out to several incidents over the last couple of weeks where people have needed to be rescued.

A spokesman for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “It is vital that motorists exercise a little common sense. We are experiencing one of the wettest months on record and over the last six weeks we have been called to dozens of incidents in which people have driven into flood water.

“Just driving into water and hoping for the best is not an option, by the time you find out the water is too deep you are already trapped.”

The flooding also led to eight horses becoming stranded near the River Chelmer on Friday, prompting a rescue operation co-ordinated by the RSPCA and firefighters.

Inspector Nicky Thorne of the RSPCA said the rescue went “very smoothly indeed”.

She added: “The team worked very carefully and slowly to move the horses.

“In one place the horses had to go through a ditch where the water was deeper and they had to swim a few steps but despite being a bit wet they were none the worse for their experience.

“The horses were next to a shopping centre, a pub and a road so we had quite a few people watching.”

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