UPDATE AND PICTURE GALLERY: The worst could be over after heavy rain hit Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Flood alerts in place and people urged to take care

The region could now be through the worst of the rain after flood alerts and severe weather warnings were issued.

But the public are being warned that intense, short bursts of rainfall is likely as the day progresses.

A total of 41 flood alerts have been issued for rivers and tributaries across the region and between 20mm to 40mm of rain is expected to fall in central areas of England over the day.

But Weatherquest, a private weather forecasting and weather analysis company based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich say that the front of thick clouds and heavy rainfall is heading north, currently passing over The Wash on the northwest margin of East Anglia.

But they warn that intense, short showers are likely to return later in the day.

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Jim Bacon of Weatherquest said: 'The heavier, more intense rain has moved away to the North, it will still be affecting the North East and Scotland.

'In East Anglia and in Norwich we are in a drier interlude, there will be patches of rain and I think we will see it become more scattery, with shorter duration but more intense rainfall, throughout the day.

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'We could even see sun breaking through the clouds in Norwich maybe, but it may stay damp and misty looking in most of Norfolk.'

The Met Office - the UK's national weather service - are advising the public to take extra care this morning as heavy and persistent rain has caused surface water flooding.

Drivers are advised to plan their journey in advance to avoid difficulty.

Trains have been running as usual.

The Environment Agency are urging communities in the North and East of England, the Midlands and much of Wales to be prepared for flooding, as two bands of very heavy rain cross the country today and into Saturday.

They say that the risk of flooding over the next few days could be the highest of the year so far, with properties and transport in some parts of the country likely to be severely affected.

And teams have set out across the country to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels.

Phil Rothwell, head of flood risk strategy at the Environment Agency, has urged people to remain vigilant and prepare for flooding.

Mr Rothwell said: 'There is some particularly awful weather that's coming our way over the next two or three days.

'It's really dangerous, keep away, keep your friends and neighbours safe. Don't try and wade through flood water and certainly don't drive through rivers that have swollen. We have seen through the last few months terrible incidents where people have lost their lives by trying to drive through or walk through flood waters. Be very careful.'

The worst-hit areas could see 60mm of rain, the average monthly fall for July.

Weatherquest, the private weather forecasting and weather analysis team at the University of East Anglia, say the rain will continue for next few hours, but should ease by lunchtime.

A spokesman for the service said: 'We will see an improving picture, with heavy showers scattered around the region again in the evening.

'The greatest risk is probably in the south and west of the county.'

Flood water is affecting areas around Mattishall near Dereham.

There are reports of problems at Welgate and Back Lane and also at nearby Clint Green and through Yaxham.

In Dereham, flood water has built up in Orchid Avenue, Toftwood, and waves are being created as buses travel along the route.

There are also problems in South Green Gardens in Dereham, where blocked drains have caused water to build up quickly.

Mick Smith, who lives in South Green, said: 'It happens regularly. But my biggest concern is that I rang Breckland Council and they put me on to Norfolk County Council but I couldn't even speak to anyone before 9am and there wasn't an emergency number.'

Have you been affected by the heavy rain or do you have pictures of it causing problems in Norfolk and Suffolk? Email Joe Wilkes at joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772439

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