Motorists are being advised to check the weather forecast and road conditions before travelling today as heavy rain is forecast into the weekend.
The Met Office has issued an amber alert that heavy and persistent rain is likely to extend north and west across many eastern, central and some northern parts of England on Friday. With the ground being near-saturated in many areas, there is a possibility of some surface water flooding.
The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and some major A roads in England is working closely with the Met Office to monitor weather conditions and maintain safe roads and reliable journeys.
Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Director of Traffic Management at the Highways Agency, said: “I advise drivers to plan their journeys before setting out, check the weather and traffic conditions, leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.
“Rain and spray can reduce visibility and when the road is wet it can take up to twice as long to stop so it makes sense to slow down when it’s raining. It’s also important to remember that surface water may affect motorways and major A roads where heavy rainfall occurs.”
Tony Waters, Deputy Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said: “We are expecting spells of very heavy and thundery rain across a wide area of the UK in the next few days, with worst affected spots likely to be in central and northern parts of the country.
“Rainfall totals could be 20-40 mm widely across warning areas, but some places could see around 100 mm of rain through Friday and into Saturday. Given the saturated ground from the record rainfall in June, this could cause significant disruption – including difficult driving conditions and flooding in some areas.”
The Highways Agency offers a number of services to help people make decisions about their journeys. Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by calling 0300 123 5000. For information on weather conditions, visit the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or listen to local radio.