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Storm Dennis death toll rises in UK as a month of rain falls in 48 hours

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By Alastair Jamieson  & AP, AFP
A man wades through flood water in Tenbury Wells, after the River Teme burst its banks in western England, on February 16, 2020.
A man wades through flood water in Tenbury Wells, after the River Teme burst its banks in western England, on February 16, 2020.   -   Copyright  Oli SCARFF / AFP

Another person has died due to extreme weather and floods in the UK caused by Storm Dennis.

The storm's confirmed on Monday the death of a woman as West Mercia Police said a body had been found in the search for a 55-year-old woman who had been missing near Tenbury in Worcestershire since Sunday.

This came after the storm was blamed for the deaths of two men who were pulled from the sea in separate searches off England's southeastern coast on Saturday.

By Monday evening, Britain's Environment Agency issued seven severe flood warnings in the central English counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Another 200 lower-level flood warnings were also in place, meaning that flooding was expected.

Some 480 flood warnings and alerts were issued across England on Monday, the highest number on record, the agency said.

Storm Dennis hammered Britain on Sunday — the country's second deadly severe weather event in a week — bringing a month's worth of rain in just 48 hours and widespread floods.

Major incidents were declared in several areas in England and Wales as authorities mobilized resources to deal with the impact of the overflowing rivers that have cut off some communities.

At one stage on Sunday, England had the most flood warnings and lower-level alerts in force — 594 — than on any other day on record.

The Met Office, Britain's meteorological service, issued a “red warning" for extremely life-threatening flooding for the first time since December 2015.

Though the warning only lasted a few hours, South Wales Police declared a major incident as firefighters and rescue crews continued to help communities following multiple floods, landslides and evacuations. Nearby Gwent Police said residents of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, were being advised to evacuate due to the flooding.

Debris left by floodwater in Pontypridd, south Wales, by Storm DennisGEOFF CADDICK / AFP

The Met Office said the highest wind gust recorded was 91 mph (146 kph) at Aberdaron in north Wales on Saturday. It also said a total of 157.6 mm (6.1 inches) of rain fell at Crai Reservoir in the Welsh county of Powys over 48 hours to Sunday morning. One of the worst-hit areas in South Wales was the village of Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff, near Cardiff, which saw entire streets left underwater since the early hours of Sunday morning.

As the wet and windy weather started to clear across parts of the south and headed north and eastwards, the number of flood warnings across the UK declined but there were still around 360 in place on Sunday, from the north of Scotland through to Cornwall.

Heavy rain in northern France

MeteoFrance issued heavy rain and flood warnings for a handful of departments in northern France, where some areas were forecast to receive up to three weeks' worth of rain over the weekend.

An empty coach abandoned in flood water after the River Teme burst its in England during Storm DennisOli SCARFF / AFP

Flood warnings could remain in place for a while since much of Britain is still saturated from last week's Storm Ciara, which left eight people dead across Europe.

Army personnel have been seconded to assist people in areas of West Yorkshire that were badly hit by flooding during last weekend's Storm Ciara.

The British Red Cross said that with water levels expected to peak on Monday or Tuesday it was ready to respond across the country.