Severe flood warnings are in place today and through to the weekend for Devon, where high sea levels have combined with strong winds and large waves.

Today there is a high risk of coastal flooding in Dorset, Devon and of further river flooding on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

The south-west, southern and central England is at risk of flooding for the remainder of the week and into the weekend as widespread bands of rain are forecast.

Nine severe flood warnings – which mean that there is danger to life – have been issued across the south west.

The Met Office announced has been the wettest January on record in England, further rain – falling on already saturated ground this could cause river and surface water flooding in the south and west of England as well as parts of the Midlands.

Since Friday evening over 122,600 homes have been protected from flooding and over 80,000 properties have been sent a free flood warning. Around 328 homes have been flooded.

Since early December, the country has faced an extraordinary period of severe weather and flooding. However, flood schemes have defended more than 1.2 million homes and businesses, and protected nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland across England.

This week Environment Agency staff continue to be out in force 24/7 deploying demountable defences, repairing damaged coastal defences, deploying sandbags along riverbanks, clearing river blockages, monitoring water levels, and sending out flood warnings. The pumping operation on the Somerset Levels continues around the clock, with up to 2.9 million tonnes of water being pumped off the Levels every day – the equivalent of three Wembley Stadiums.

John Curtin, head of incident management at the Environment Agency, said: “We’re preparing for successive bands of heavy rain forecast into the weekend, groundwater and river levels are already high following the wettest January on record for England.

“With further river and coastal flooding expected this week we continue to have teams working around the clock to protect homes and communities and we are mobilising staff from across the Environment Agency to provide support in affected areas. Over 122,600 properties have been protected over the past few days.

“We urge people to stay safe and not to walk or drive through flood water which can be dangerous and to take care near coastal paths and promenades for fear of being swept away.

“In the face of this severe weather and continuing flood risk we would also remind people that they can sign up to receive free flood warnings, check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Environment Agency website and on social media using #floodaware.”