Floods bash Britain ahead of Christmas

London -

Winds and rain across Britain are spelling a winter washout for many before the Christmas holiday, with rail travel disrupted and several people plucked from the floodwaters.

The River Wye floods onto surrounding lowlands near Ross-on-Wye. Credit: AFP

Residents in Braunton, in southern England, saw their village's new flood defenses wiped out as the River Caen burst its banks. In the nearby village of Umberleigh, a woman was rescued by a lifeboat team after clinging to the branches of a tree for nearly an hour.

The Environment Agency had 150 flood alerts in place late on Sunday, mainly in southwest and central England. Northeast Scotland was also affected. - Sapa-AP