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Flood alerts in UK as heavy rain sweeps in

Torrential rain pelted a large swath of Britain on Friday, flooding roads, canceling concerts and turning practice for the British Grand Prix into a puddle-churning ordeal. Authorities issued almost 200 flood alerts or warnings across the country.

The Meteorological Office, the national weather agency, said downpours were likely from southwestern England all the way up north to Glasgow in Scotland and across the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland.

Organizers of Sunday's British Grand Prix race told thousands of Formula 1 fans to stay away from qualifying sessions on Saturday after the deluge made some parking lots unusable.

"We've been in emergency meetings every two hours today with the police, highways agencies, county council, emergency planning to try and resolve the issues," said Richard Phillips, managing director of the Silverstone race track. "But tomorrow there will be 20,000 to 30,000 people we won't be able to properly cater for."

About 80,000 fans turned out at Silverstone, 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of London, to watch training for the race on Friday. Many faced traffic gridlock as they left.

Britain is even more prone to flooding than usual following the wettest June on record, and the Environment Agency, which issued the alerts and warnings, said, "The risk of flooding over the next few days is expected to be the highest of the year so far."

Met Office forecaster Tony Waters said some places could see up to 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain Friday — far more than the 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) that usually falls during the entire month of July.

Flooding was reported Friday morning in northern England, where six people were rescued from a mobile home park in North Yorkshire after heavy rain left the site under 2 feet (0.6 meters) of water.

In Goole in northern England, emergency services rescued a man on a disability scooter from water up to a meter (3 feet) deep beneath an underpass.

Bad weather made Prince Charles an hour late for a visit to Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, where his brown shoes became mud-splattered as he met local officials to discuss efforts to recover from floods two weeks ago. He also spent about 20 minutes at a school chatting with staff, pupils and members of the community who helped clean up from the floods.

Storm warnings also prompted the cancellation of Saturday's MFEST music festival in Leeds in central England. The Human League, Texas, Bob Geldof and Cher Lloyd had all been booked to perform.