Storm Bella is due to hit parts of the UK on Boxing Day after dozens of homes and businesses were flooded following heavy rain.
An amber national severe weather warning has been issued in parts of south Wales and across southern England, as the Met Office said conditions across the UK would turn increasingly unsettled through to 27 December, with strengthening winds and heavy rain moving in from the north.
A yellow warning for wind for the whole of England and Wales as well as the far south of Scotland has also been issued and will be in force from 3pm on Boxing Day.
It came as homes and businesses were flooded and dozens of people were rescued from vehicles after heavy rain fell on Wednesday.
Properties in East Anglia and Gloucester were among those affected by bad weather. Patrick Lloyd, 27, from Peterborough, told the PA Media news agency he woke up to find much of his home had been submerged, causing thousands of pounds-worth of damage.
Lloyd said he had to help rescue his 86-year-old neighbour who had become trapped without power. She was taken to hospital after spending about 50 minutes in the “freezing” flood water.
“Luckily a bloke driving by saw her and got out and helped us with her. We had to get the fire service out to get her on to a board and we lifted her out for an ambulance,” he said. “We were worried about hypothermia, she spent a night in hospital, no idea if she made it or not.”
Northamptonshire fire and rescue service responded to 250 incidents, deploying crews to pump out properties and stranded vehicles, including one person stuck on the roof of a car at Fotheringhay between Peterborough and Corby.
Colleagues in Bedfordshire said they had 60 999 calls in 90 minutes, including three to people needing to be rescued from cars.
In Cambridgeshire, the A14 between Thrapston and Brampton was still shut both ways on Thursday morning, with police urging drivers not to chance driving through flood waters.
Milton Keynes council said its staff and Buckinghamshire firefighters had been helping people in Newport Pagnell, New Bradwell and also Stony Stratford, where the high street had flooded, describing surrounding river levels as “exceptionally high”.
The BBC reported the south Wales fire and rescue service received 500 calls for help on Wednesday as the downpours hit many parts of the country.
Northamptonshire fire and rescue service said it had handled more than 250 flood calls, with several properties inundated and a number of people rescued from their stranded vehicles.
The Environment Agency (EA) had issued more than 90 flood warnings for England as of 5am on Thursday, including 16 warnings related to the River Severn on the Welsh border.
Other areas covered by flood warnings included part of the Great River Ouse and the Chediston watercourse in Suffolk.
Nine further flood warnings were issued by Natural Resources Wales.
The Environment Agency also issued a further 149 flood alerts, which warn of possible flooding and urge preparedness.
Nottinghamshire police said emergency services had been called to a report of a landslide near some homes near a former quarry at 11.40pm on Wednesday.
The force said a “small number” of properties had been evacuated, and police, fire and ambulance services, along with Mansfield district council officials, were sent at the scene at Bank End Close in Mansfield to conduct safety assessments.
According to a Natural Resources Wales gauge, 60.4mm of rain fell within 13 hours at the Trevethin reservoir in southern Wales on Wednesday.
Almost 45mm of rain was also detected in Corby, Northamptonshire, in the same period, according to Environment Agency figures.
The heavy rain caused disruption to travel, with many areas, including Cardiff, reporting surface water on the roads.
Alex Burkill, a meteorologist for the Met Office told the PA Media news agency: “There’s been a lot of wet weather around, we’ve had a heavy rain across much of England and Wales, particularly southern parts of Wales but also further east.
“Most places in England and Wales have been really wet and we’ve seen strengthening winds too, there have been some gales in exposed parts, so quite unpleasant really.”
He said the rainfall would cease overnight into Christmas Eve.
“The wet weather we’ve got over us at the moment that’s all going to clear away towards the south-east as we go through the night so for Christmas Eve we’re going to have lots of fine weather around, with lots of sunshine and a cold northerly flow.”