Warnings affect the South West, the Midlands and Wales

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued a further 11 severe flood warnings for the UK as heavy rain, strong winds and high tides hit the country.

This takes the total number of severe warnings in force across the UK to 21.

The warnings, which indicate a danger to life, affect the South West, the Midlands and Wales.

Environment secretary Owen Parsons is set to chair a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergencies committee, later today to discuss the situation.

The EA has also issued 192 flood warnings, indicating flooding is imminent, and 231 flood alerts, which warn that flooding is possible.

EA head of strategy Pete Fox said: “We are expecting flooding along the west and south coasts of England and Wales, due to a combination of strong winds, large waves and high tides, from the early hours of Friday and into the weekend.

“The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the Met Office and local authorities. Environment Agency teams are out on the ground making sure that flood defences are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and preparing to issue flood alerts and warnings.”

“People should check the Environment Agency website or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook, and sign up to receive free flood warnings,” he added.

Devon and Cornwall Police and the Isles of Scilly Council have declared the storm a major incident.

Firefighters, who had been due to strike, may also call off the action to deal with calls coming in related to the storm.