Severe flood warnings lifted in Cumbria as heavy rain continues

Severe flood warnings have been lifted for two towns in Cumbria but other communities across the north of England have been urged to brace themselves as heavy rain continues.

More than 1,500 properties were thought to be at risk in Egremont and Kendal, on the fringes of the Lake District, and emergency refuge centres were set up by local councils in both towns.

Only a handful of properties were flooded overnight as rainfall levels fell short of some of the higher predictions and the Environment Agency has now lifted its highest levels of alert.

But the agency has warned of scores of other flood threats across the north of England, with reports of localised flooding in North and West Yorkshire as well as in Northumberland.

Police in several counties have warned of terrible driving conditions, with some roads flooded.

In Stockton-on-Tees, three people were taken to hospital for checks after a taxi overturned in what police described as "awful driving conditions".

In Cumbria, despite the lifting of the severe flood warnings, police advised motorists to drive "only if absolutely necessary" after torrential rain left roads flooded and hundreds of people fearing their homes may be inundated.

Cumbria Police said a number of roads in the county have already been affected, including the A66 route, which links the M6 with communities on the west coast.

Chief inspector Matt Kennerley said: "Many of the county's roads, including the A66 at Threlkeld, have minor road surface flooding.

"Our advice is to drive only if necessary today as it is expected, that with further deteriorating weather conditions, more roads will be affected with an increasing severity."

The Environment Agency is closely watching the River Wharfe after it burst its banks at various locations around Ilkley, Otley and Pool.

The A65 in the Settle area of North Yorkshire was also badly affected by localised floods and North Yorkshire Police said they were attending reports of a fallen tree blocking a road in the Ingleton area.

Further north, many communities have been preparing for possible flooding with people in Corbridge, in Northumberland, taking to social media to report the River Tyne at an extremely high level.

The Environment Agency said there were still 75 flood warnings in force across England and Wales, along with 91 flood alerts.

It said further heavy rainfall is expected throughout Sunday and into Monday after in excess of 7ins (180mm) of rain fell overnight in some places. River levels remain extremely high and are continuing to rise in places.

A spokesman said the risk remains highest for Cumbria, parts of Lancashire and western parts of North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Neil Davies, Environment Agency flood risk duty manager, said: "Communities in northern England should remain vigilant to the risk of flooding.

"Further heavy, persistent rain is expected throughout Sunday and into Monday, and river levels remain extremely high and are continuing to rise in places.

"Fifteen thousand properties have been protected from flooding thanks to Environment Agency flood schemes.

"We will continue to work closely with the emergency services and partners, and our teams on the ground will continue to work around the clock maintaining flood defences, clearing river blockages, and monitoring river levels."