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Man dies in car amid flash flooding
A man has died after becoming trapped in his car in flood water as heavy rain continued to bring chaos to large parts of the country.
The victim's vehicle was wedged under a bridge near to a ford at Rectory Fields, in Chew Stoke, Somerset, at 8.50pm on Thursday. Fire crews and police attended the scene and the man was found in the car and pronounced dead in hospital.
Officials are still working to identify the driver and his next of kin after another night of torrential downpours which have so far left thousands of homes without power and more than 100 people evacuated as winds reached more than 86mph.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: "The vehicle is still stuck there at the moment, and so we are preserving the scene until the water has died down and it is safe to retrieve the car. When daylight comes, they will look to remove it."
The awful weather, which is expected to continue this weekend, has been worst in Wales and the South West where flooding left hundreds of drivers stranded. Many roads were left impassable as homeowners were again forced to protect their properties as water deluged swathes of the country.
The Environment Agency has issued 91 flood warnings with a total of 213 less serious flood alerts in place across England and Wales. In the South West there were 45 flood warnings and 58 alerts.
The highest winds were recorded at Capel Curig in Wales reaching 86mph, but much of the UK battled with winds of 60 to 70mph during the day and throughout the night.
A spokesman for the MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the country would be greeted with some welcome respite today, but more storms are on their way this weekend.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said that 300 properties in England and Wales have been flooded over the past 24 hours. There were 88 flood warnings and 188 flood alerts in place in England and Wales, she said.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was visiting flood-hit areas of the West Midlands. The Number 10 spokeswoman said: "The Environment Agency are monitoring the situation closely. They have got teams taking action to try to reduce the impact (of the floods)."