Flood warnings across northern England as wet weather persists


Continued deluges of rain and high river levels have prompted further flood warnings in the north of England.

The Met Office has issued 77 weather warnings across the region, although none are severe flood threats which are classed as a "danger to life".

Affected areas include large parts of east Lancashire including Pendle, the Ribble Valley and Burnley, and large areas of West Yorkshire including Leeds, Dewsbury, Batley, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Cleckheaton.

Elsewhere, flood warnings were also issued in Preston, York and Rochdale.

Localised flooding of roads continued to take place in Cumbria which bore the brunt of Storm Desmond and led to the flooding of thousands of homes.

The Environment Agency has issued a severe alert for the west Lancashire village of St Michael's, which lies on the River Wyre, where many householders were forced to leave their homes earlier this week.

Work has been continuing to temporarily fix the breached defences with sandbags and clay but further downpours have halted that progress.

Snow also brought hazardous driving conditions on the M6 at Shap and sections of the A66 and A6.

In Carlisle, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment will assist city council staff in carrying out an overnight clean-up of ruined furniture dumped outside homes in the Warwick Road area.

World boxing champion Amir Khan brought welcome relief to that community when he led volunteers from his foundation and the international humanitarian charity Penny Appeal in giving practical support.

The teams served hot meals at at local community centre, handed out toys and Christmas presents to children and delivered food parcels.

Khan, 29, said: "It's very sad to see that people have had to leave their homes and all the furniture has been taken out of their houses and the floods have destroyed all the homes, the kids' toys and everything else.

"I just want to come here and give kids some new toys and bring moral support really."

Electricity North West said about 400 properties in Cumbria remain without power due to last weekend's flood damage, with its engineers continuing to carry out door-to-door safety checks.

Floods Minister Rory Stewart on Saturday visited Kendal where it is thought about 1,400 homes have been flooded.

He dropped in to Sandylands Methodist Church which has acted as a flood recovery centre for the local community.

The Rev Jonny Gios said: "The purpose of my bringing Rory here today was to highlight the issues and that we don't get forgotten as a town, and to help push for Government money to get back on our feet."

Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, was told that housing was a major concern as the Rev Gios told him: "People are sofa surfing at the moment. They are in Travelodges and are being told you need to be out next week."

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, also attended the meeting and echoed the problems of homelessness in the town.

He said: "The number of people who are seeking housing and are in a homeless situation is about 100 and rising by the day. As the week goes by, people who have made temporary arrangements find that suddenly ceases to be."

He said he would renew his call next week for the Government to apply for a grant from the EU's Solidarity Fund, which was set up to provide financial assistance to EU countries struck by major natural disasters.