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Rain and floods cause travel misery
Fire and Rescue services work to clear a section of the A399 in North Devon, where severe weather is causing havoc
Hundreds of thousands of Christmas travellers are facing further misery as their chances of getting home for the festive holiday are hampered by the effects of flooding.
Rail routes across the country will be under increasing pressure as people who were unable to travel on Saturday will add to already heaving services as they attempt to reschedule their journeys.
Dozens of routes have been affected by heavy rain in recent days, and flooding has been so bad in the South West that First Great Western is advising passengers with non-essential journeys not to travel on trains or replacement buses in the area at all, because of flooding and poor road conditions.
Dozens of residents in the South West face Christmas with floodwater in their homes, and communities across the country are on alert as hundreds of flood warnings remain in place.
In Umberleigh, near Barnstaple in Devon, a woman was swept away from her car in the early hours after flooding in the area. A police helicopter found the woman clinging to branches of a tree on the banks of the swollen River Taw, Devon and Cornwall Police said. Fire crews helped her to safety using a rigid inflatable, and she was treated for exposure to the water.
In the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales a woman was rescued from her car by passers-by after it was swept into a river in Llancarfan, the BBC said.
The woman was driving through the village when her black Mini ended up in the swollen waterway and began floating backwards with her trapped inside. Two men smashed the car window using a ladder and pulled her to safety just moments before her car was washed under the bridge and filled with water.
Sam Smith, one of the woman's rescuers, told the BBC, he crawled across the ladder, got the woman out of the car and then with a friend led the woman to safety. He said: "Once we had got her across we pulled the ladder out of the car, and I suppose about a minute later off it went under the bridge. There is no question, the poor lady would have been drowned, absolutely no question."
The Environment Agency (EA) said there was a heightened flood risk across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bristol, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, West and East Sussex, North Yorkshire, south Wales, Ceredigion and Gwynedd.
There are currently more than 360 flood alerts in place, spread widely across England and Wales, and more than 200 flood warnings, the agency's second highest alert level in which flooding is expected, are in place in the Midlands and the South West. A severe flood warning remains in place at Helston on Cornwall, though levels of the River Cober were falling and levels were rising at Loe Pool in Helston.