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Northern England put on flood alert

A large swathe of northern England was put on flood alert today as a heavy band of rain threatened to cause disruption.

Homeowners and motorists were warned to be prepared as a band of rain moves northwards from the East Anglian region up to the North East.

The Environment Agency said people should be prepared to activate emergency procedures as there may be flash flooding and drains overflowing.

The areas most at risk are: Cumbria; Darlington; Durham; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; North Yorkshire; Northumberland; Redcar and Cleveland; Stockton-on-Tees and Tyne and Wear.

The extreme rainfall alert was issued by the Flood Forecasting Centre and covers the period from 1pm today until 8am on Sunday.

There is a 20% probability of rainfall amounts exceeding 50 millimetres in six hours, with the possibility of 70 millimetres in some areas.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "We are monitoring the situation closely and urging people to be prepared.

"There is a chance of flash flooding and drains overflowing and we are urging people to look at our website."

People are asked to keep up-to-date with developments on http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk.