United Kingdom Awaits Brexit Results After Polls Close
(ABC) -- A nervous United Kingdom awaits the results of the Brexit referendum -- deciding whether the country should leave the European Union -- after the polls closed at 10 p.m. local time, but the final tally won't be announced for hours.
Nigel Farage, leader of the British right-wing party UKIP, who supports a Brexit, has already said that he thinks the "Remain" camp will win. "It looks like Remain will edge it," he told Sky News.
The vote is not legally binding and Parliament would still have to repeal the 1972 act that allowed the U.K. to join the E.U.
Heavy rain, lightning and floods have hit large parts of the U.K. as residents head to the polls to vote on whether to remain in the E.U.
London's Fire Brigade received up to 300 calls overnight in three hours, the kind of volume it usually receives in a day. Flooding has caused relocation of at least two polling stations in suburban London.
"Our control staff and firefighters have been working tirelessly through the night and into this morning to deal with the huge volume of weather-related calls that we have received," the brigade said in a statement.
Among 46.5 million people voting in the referendum, scores could be affected by the weather conditions. Travel chaos is expected throughout the day with disruptions already affecting rail and subway networks, especially in London.
Turnout was expected to be high, with a record of 46.5 million entitled to vote in polling stations open today between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time.
Recent polls in Britain tend to be relatively unreliable but the latest Ipsos Mori poll out this morning, and based on telephone interviews, found 52 percent of people wanted to remain in the European Union and 48 percent wanted to leave. At least two other recent polls, Opinium and TNS, have the “leave” camp at 1 point and 2 points ahead of the “remain” camp.
Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have already cast their votes, along with former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has been campaigning for the U.K. to leave the union.
A “Brexit” would be a "turning point in the story of our country," Johnson said in an interview today in The Telegraph newspaper, adding he was prepared to sacrifice his career over his desire to see a Brexit.
As for the weather, "It will then be a muggy day, with warm sunny spells, before further heavy and thundery downpours spread north during the afternoon," the MET, the U.K.'s official weather forecaster, said of the London forecast.
"Thundery showers easing in the south-east, before re-developing this afternoon," the MET said, adding that it had issued "Severe Weather Warnings" in southeastern parts of the country.
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