Daily Mail

A deluge in the North – but hosepipe ban in the South?

- By James Tozer

HEAVy downpours and thundersto­rms might have scuppered a few barbecue plans this weekend – but parts of the country are now facing the prospect of a hosepipe ban.

Two weeks’ worth of rain fell in 24 hours in parts of the North West yesterday, leaving cars submerged and rail lines closed.

But falling river levels in Hampshire following the hottest July day on record have led Southern Water – which serves 2.3million customers – to threaten the country’s first hosepipe ban since 2012.

Under new rules introduced by the Environmen­t Agency in March to protect chalk stream habitats, Southern Water said the ‘temporary use bans’ would affect only ‘specific areas’ which depend on the River Test for water – minimising the impact of continuing to pump from the river.

The announceme­nt follows a yellow weather warning for rain for parts of the Midlands and northwest England, with 2in (52mm) recorded between 11am on Saturday and 11am yesterday at Greenfield, near Oldham.

‘This is a lot of rain to fall in the space of 24 hours, especially given the rain has been very consistent and there have been heavy bursts within it,’ said Helen Roberts, of the Met Office, who added the monthly average rainfall for the North West in July was 3½in (89.5mm).

yesterday vehicles were stuck in several feet of water after flooding in Stockport while one nearby carriagewa­y of the M60 was closed due to a collision during the torrential rain. A Lamborghin­i smashed into a barrier after aquaplanin­g on the M66 on Saturday before the driver fled, abandoning the wrecked car. Greater Manchester Police traffic officers tweeted: ‘A very expensive mistake.... They don’t make very good boats!’

Northern Rail reported train services being severely disrupted due to flooding on the lines.

Forecaster­s predict heavy showers across much of the country at the start of the week, but conditions should brighten by Thursday.

Rescuers took four hours to free a man who became trapped in rocks after saving a child from the rising tide yesterday. The man was up to his neck in water as he waited for his leg to be freed from the rocks off the Norfolk coast at Sheringham.

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