A WARNING of potential river and coastal flooding has been issued by the Environment Agency (EA), with further heavy rainfall predicted to fall on already saturated ground over the weekend.
The warning came as high spring tides are also forecast from tomorrow (Friday) which could result in flood alerts and flood warnings being issued.
A flood warning means flooding of property is expected and people should take action to prepare.
The unusual frequency and intensity of rainfall in December into January has led to a much more rapid rise in groundwater levels than is usually measured, the EA said.
Groundwater levels are high and still rising. Further substantial rainfall is likely to raise groundwater levels even higher and could lead to further flooding.
People are urged to avoid driving or walking through flood water. Fast-flowing water that is just 15cm deep can be enough to knock an adult off their feet.
Mark Heelis of the EA said: "Today, tomorrow and into the weekend we are expecting heavy rainfall which will continue to raise the threat of flooding to communities in the south east.
"We are monitoring the situation very closely as river and groundwater levels across the south east remain high and responsive, and standing water remains in some flood plains. As high spring tides are also forecast over the weekend we will be keeping a close eye on the developing situation around the coast.
"EA teams remain out on the ground around the clock operating pumping stations, issuing flood warnings and checking that flood banks, walls and barriers are working effectively.
"We urge communities to prepare in advance by signing up for free flood warnings and to take action if they receive one. A flood warning indicates that flooding is expected and immediate action is required."
• Advice for those dealing with flooding is available on the EA website and from Floodline on 0845 988 1188. Up-to-date information is available on Twitter @EnvAgencySE and by following #floodaware.