Flood warnings issued as rivers rise

Householders were bracing themselves today after heavy rainfall in northern England and Wales caused surging river levels to teeter near bursting point.

Temporary flood defences were put up following prolonged deluges yesterday that prompted the Environment Agency to issue 28 flood warnings in the worst hit communities.

Forecasters have predicted more rain in northern regions today, adding to fears that some rivers could breach their banks.

A number of flood warnings are in place in Cumbria, with low-lying areas along the River Eden including Appleby and Carlisle at risk.

Parts of Yorkshire and Northumberland have also been issued with warnings, including Masham, Ilkley, Wetherby and Falstone.

According to the Environment Agency, a flood warning means flooding is expected and that immediate reaction is required.

The rain is set to continue today, with showers expected to fall on already sodden ground in northern England and Wales.

Lindsay Dovey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Today a band of rain will move across Wales and north west England which will move south east throughout the day.

"There will be heavy bursts in it which will add to the high levels which have already fallen. Scotland will also experience heavy rainfall of up to 10mm per hour this morning, which will break up throughout the day."

In Shap, Cumbria, 110mm of rain was recorded yesterday along with wind gusts of 69mph.

Temporary flood defences were put up in Appleby on the River Eden following the deluges, but Environment Agency officials said some properties, roads and land were still at risk.

Staff also removed debris from rivers in a bid to prevent blockages that could cause flooding and ensure the affected areas were "as prepared as possible" against floods.

People in the worst-hit regions have been urged to check the Environment Agency website for the latest flood situations and sign-up for free flood warnings.

"Those living in Appleby, Kendal, Burnside and Keswick should tune into their local radio stations, ensure important documents are in a safe place and check their flood plans," added the Environment Agency spokesman last night.

Flood warnings are also in place in North Wales which recorded the highest rainfall of yesterday - 114mm in Capel Curig, Conwy.

North Wales Fire Service said it attended three "minor" floods at properties near Betws-y-Coed, in the Conwy Valley, Snowdonia, yesterday, but was not aware of any incidents overnight.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Fire Service also said there had not been any major flooding incidents overnight.

Forecasters predict the rain should clear away to the South East on Monday before it becomes colder, with maximum temperatures reaching 10C.

The Environment Agency reduced the number of flood warnings to 27 this morning, while 69 flood alerts were in place in areas where flooding was a possibility.

Meanwhile, the Met Office issued a severe weather warning of heavy rain across Wales, with 15 to 25mm expected to fall in most regions throughout the day. Bursts of up to 50mm are expected in high areas.

Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire were also warned of heavy rain for the first half of today.