THE fire service is asking Somerset motorists to take extra care on the roads as heavy rain and strong winds are expected to batter the region this week.

The Met Office has issued two separate yellow weather warnings for wind and rain on Friday and Saturday.

The rain warning begins at midnight on Friday morning, with the wind warning in place from midnight on Saturday morning throughout the day and into the night.

Both warnings have been issued for most of the south of England and Wales, fully including the West Country.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said severe rain may cause flash flooding in some areas across the county and urged people to avoid driving in deep water.

Alan Gilson, Community Safety Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “In periods of heavy rain, roads can become very slippery and, if the rain persists, flooded.

"Flood water can be deceptively powerful, it can literally rip up the road surface dislodging manhole covers and kerb stones.

"Its depth and flow rate can quickly change with the weather."

The fire service has issued advice to motorists to help them stay safe on the roads.

Don’t drive through deep water

• Just one foot or 30cm of moving water can float your car.

• An eggcup-full of water going into your engine is enough to wreck it.

• Three-quarters of cars that get stuck in flood water are written off.

Plan your route

  • Consider that some roads are likely to be more vulnerable to flooding and high winds than others. Consider potential alternative routes, should your first choice be blocked.

• Try to stick to main routes; allow plenty of time for your journey, and allow for possible hold-ups.

• Check your tyres. Tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across 75% of the width of the tyre for its entire circumference. Ensure that tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure.

• Check lights and wipers to ensure that they are working properly.

• Check weather forecasts, your route may be blocked.

• Test your brakes to ensure that they are working properly.

• Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, so that you are able to quickly raise the alarm if you need to.

Driving in high winds

• Slow down and be aware of side-winds. Be alert for any debris which may have been blown onto the road.

• Be alert for sudden gusts when passing bridges, gaps in hedges or when overtaking high-sided vehicles.