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Heavy downpours cause flooding in the North

Published 15/11/2015

Waves crash against the sea wall in Blackpool as the Met Office issued a warning for severe weather in the north west
Waves crash against the sea wall in Blackpool as the Met Office issued a warning for severe weather in the north west

Torrential rain has brought flooding to communities across the north of England despite river levels stopping short of some of the worst fears of forecasters.

Councils had prepared for up to 1,600 properties to be flooded in the Cumbrian towns of Kendal and Egremont but river levels peaked just inches short of the worst case predictions.

But many rivers did burst their banks with localised flooding affecting roads, farmland and train services across a swathe of the country. Only a handful of homes are thought to have been affected.

Some of the areas worst hit were in Cumbria - where the main A66 route was flooded at Threlkeld and drivers were warned to stay indoors - and also in West and North Yorkshire.

The River Wharfe burst its banks in a number of places as it surged through Ilkley, Otley and Pool, north of Leeds.

Northern Trains had to cancel a large number of services after lines were flooded in West Yorkshire, including in Hebden Bridge and in Leeds.

RSPCA deployed specialist water rescue teams to the north-west of England and one rescued a horse - a chestnut gelding called Beau - from a flooded field in Burneside, near Kendal.

Chief Inspector Mark Gent, who led the team, said : "Beau was on an island of dry land in a flooded field, he was surrounded by a fast flowing river on one side and a pool of knee deep water.

"He was quite timid. We tried to catch him with a head collar and a bucket of feed but he kept moving so we used a rope to form a barrier along the river. We then shepherded him through the water into another field with higher ground and reunited him with his friend Bomber."

On the other side of the Pennines there were reports of a trainer having to wade into floodwater to rescue four racehorses after the River Ure burst its banks near Middleham, North Yorkshire.

Police in several counties warned of terrible driving conditions and urged drivers not to travel unless they had to.

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 all the severe flood warnings, police advised motorists to drive "only if absolutely necessary".

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 watched as water levels rose dramatically with people in Corbridge, in Northumberland, taking to social media to report the River Tyne at an extremely high level.

Scores of events had to be cancelled due to the rain, flooding and high winds.

River levels in many parts of England appeared to be dropping, although 40 flood warning remained in place in the north-east alone.

The Environment Agency said it was particularly concerned about the town of Tadcaster, further down the River Wharfe.

Neil Davies, Environment Agency flood risk duty manager, said: " Further heavy, persistent rain is expected throughout Sunday and into Monday, and river levels remain extremely high and are continuing to rise in places."

The heavy rain and wind experienced over the weekend in northern England is now expected to move to Scotland.

The Met Office has warned of heavy and persistent rain in Scotland, moving in from the west, which could cause flooding.

It has also issued a further warning that this will be followed by gales, with gusts up to 75mph hitting north-west Scotland and the Western Isles on Monday.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has issued 13 flood warnings for a range of locations, including a number on Tayside.

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