Much of England Underwater After Heavy Rains Intense rainfall in England has caused rivers to burst banks and streets to become like rivers. More than a month's worth of rain doused England and Wales in just hours Friday, forcing evacuation and threatening the water supply. More rain is forecast.

Much of England Underwater After Heavy Rains

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Much of Western England is underwater today during the rainiest English summer in living memory. Some people had only just finished cleaning up after the heavy rain of last month.

NPR's Rob Gifford reports.

ROB GIFFORD: Complaining about the weather has always been a national pastime in Britain, but this summer, there's been more cause than usual. More than a month's worth of rain fell in parts of central England and Wales on Friday then more rain over the weekend caused even greater flooding.

The River Avon and England's longest river, the Severn, have both burst their banks in the west of England and the ancient town of Tewkesbury has been completely cut off by the floods. Streets have become rivers and the floodwater is lapping at the foot of the town's 900-year-old Norman Abbey.

Only one person has died in recent days as a result of the floods, but thousands have been trapped in their homes. Water companies have pleaded with residents to use water carefully after one treatment plant in Tewkesbury had to be shut down due to flooding.

The Army and the Royal Air Force have been mobilized to assist in the evacuation of the young and the elderly, and the cleanup bill is expected to run to hundreds of millions of dollars. And the forecast? More rain, and the threat that the River Thames upstream from London may now also burst its banks.

Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.

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