An expensive mop-up programme begins in flood-ravaged Cornwall today as hundreds return to their homes and businesses for the first time since disaster the county struck on Wednesday. But, amid criticism people weren’t given adequate warning, could more floods be on the way?

As locals sift through the muddy streets, there is concern about the way in which information about the impending downpour was dessiminated in the lead-up to the flash-floods.

Warnings were issued by the Flood Forecasting Centre, which is run by the Met Office and the Environment Agency, on Tuesday afternoon to the emergency services and local councils.

Radio and television forecasters also warned that very heavy rain was on its way. However, the Met Office did not issue a severe weather warning until 10.30pm and the Environment Agency only began sending flood warnings to people who have signed up to its warning scheme yesterday morning.

Both the Environment Agency and The Met Office have denied they could have done more to warn people and insist that warnings went to the relevant agencies.

Now, there is more confusion from the two departments: The Environment Agency is warning that further flooding is possible, but the Met Office predicts showers rather than heavy rain in Cornwall during the next few days.

For now though, the people of the county will begin mopping the sodden streets, clearing the debris and lost possessions. As they do so they pray for the rains to hold off and they will scratch their heads in wonder at the government’s October 20 decision to cut funding for flood defences.