The north west mops up after floods

Torrential downpours have brought flooding to swathes of the north west, forcing people to leave their homes as more than a month's worth of rain fell in 24 hours.

Up to 100mm of rain hit the region overnight, with Lancashire experiencing unusually heavy rainfall.

The Environment Agency issued around 140 flood warnings and alerts in northern regions which are also subject to Met Office severe weather warnings.

Some families spent the night in temporary accommodation after they were evacuated from properties when rivers burst their banks.

In Darwen, they were taken to the nearby Leisure Centre after fleeing homes. There were similar scenes in Croston near Chorley. Most people however are now back at home or in alternative accommodation.

Forecasters said water levels would begin to recede but further showers are expected to slow the clear-up process, meaning some areas will remain swamped.

However, the adverse conditions are set to improve - with the possibility of sunshine on Sunday.

Matt Dobson, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Borrowdale in Cumbria bore the brunt of the bad weather, with an estimated 100mm of rain.

"It has been exceptionally wet overnight across Cumbria," he said.

"By the end of the night, it is fair to say that probably 70mm-100mm fell over over 24 hours which is a month's worth of rain. It looks like the worst is probably now over for Cumbria."

Severe weather warnings remain in place in the North West, East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, Northern Ireland, Strathclyde, south-west and central Scotland, Lothian Borders, and Tayside and Fife, the Met Office said.

The Environment Agency has 92 flood warnings in place across northern England and 47 flood alerts. There are another three flood alerts in both the South West and Wales.

It came after rain brought chaos to parts of the country yesterday, flooding more than 70 homes.

Croston was said to have become an "island" and homes were evacuated as the local authority handed out sandbags and a shelter was set up at the village's Bishop Rawstorne School.

Localised flashflooding also hit households in Greater Manchester where water was said to be waist height in some areas.

Firefighters were called in to clear floodwater in Wigan, helping three people and a dog away from their properties by boat.

The Olympic torch relay was also hit by the weather with organisers forced to cancel an outdoor event in Blackpool.

But the outlook is more promising in the coming days.

A band of wet weather is expected to sweep the country tonight, moving from West to East. Forecasts suggest it will pass relatively quickly, meaning no one place should see more than five hours of rain.

Amounts of between 10mm-15mm are expected to fall quite widely before clearing in many areas tomorrow, with much of the country expected to see a dry day on Monday