Britain is braced for another onslaught of heavy rain and violent gales which are expected to bring more flooding to southern counties.

About 1000 homes have already been flooded this week and 13,000 were yesterday still without power, with engineers warning some may not be connected for days.

But forecasters said the situation could worsen overnight as another band of rain sweeps across the country, with many rivers in the south still rising because of rainfall earlier in the week.

The rain was expected to arrive on the west coast and cross the country overnight, with 10mm to 20mm expected in most areas, but the flood risk is highest in the south where the ground is already saturated.


It will be accompanied by winds reaching 128km/h on the west coast and up to 80km/h inland which could cause further travel chaos and inflict more damage on electricity networks.

The warning comes after 50,000 homes were left without power on Christmas Day, principally in the southeast, while 150 homes in areas including Sussex and Kent were evacuated because of flooding.

An estimated 24,000 homes were still without power yesterday but many were reconnected during the course of the day.

A winter storm is causing serious flooding in southern England. Thousands of people are without power on Christmas Day. Some roads are also closed due to flooding. Two dozen motorists were rescued from their vehicles overnight.

The Met Office said the next round of stormy weather would have the potential to fell trees, cause power outages and disrupt transport networks, particularly in southern areas which were hit badly on Monday and are "sensitive" to a further onslaught.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman, speaking on Sky News, said the biggest threat was in areas around rivers which are still swelling because of rain including the Severn, Thames and Medway.

Emergency services rescued 76 people from a flooded caravan park in Yalding, Kent on Christmas Eve while more evacuations occurred in Tonbridge.