People evacuated as heavy rain and flooding hits Britain

Residents look on in Chester-Le-Street as water levels rise. Credit: wen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

People have been evacuated from their homes and flooding has caused major disruption to transport after parts of the UK were battered with more heavy rain.

Parts of Yorkshire and the North East experienced more than a month's rain in just 24 hours, leading to rising river levels and surface water flooding.

ITV News' Martin Geissler reports:

And the Met Office is warning of more downpours to come in northern England and north and west Wales today, with 25mm to 50mm (1-2 inches) set to fall in some areas.

The Environment Agency today issued 68 flood warnings for rivers and 151 less serious flood alerts.

The Environment Agency's flood warnings are explained here.

  • Flood alerts are issued when flooding is possible in any given region or area and people are asked to be prepared for potential bad weather.

  • Flood warnings are made when flooding is expected imminently and immediate action is required.

  • Severe flood warnings are issued when there is danger to life.

A Barge sinks on the River Ouse in North Yorkshire. Credit: @krag11/Krag

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said rivers in the North were rising quite quickly following the rain that has already fallen.

And she said: "We are reminding people not to walk in flood water, and not to drive through flood water because people have to be rescued and it provides a challenge for emergency services who could be deployed elsewhere, and it's very dangerous."

Residents in Morpeth, Northumberland, were being evacuated "as a precaution" as the floodwater rose, while in St Helens around 10 people and a cat and dog had to be rescued in inflatable rafts after their homes flooded.

In Hebden Bridge which has been hit by serious floods twice this summer, people have not been evacuated but waters were rising and the Environment Agency said it had teams and pumps on standby to tackle flooding.

Flood water covers the A1 road in both directions near Darlington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "Residents in an area of Morpeth are being evacuated as a precaution.

"We are working with the local authority to take them to an alternative location."

On the roads in the North East, the Highways Agency said, the A1 northbound was closed near Catterick and in Tyne and Wear. Other major roads including the A66 near Darlington and the A19 in Tyne and Wear were also affected.

Drivers on the A1 at Dunston, Gateshead, had to be rescued from their cars by police, an ITV journalist said.

Rachel Sweeney, who works for Tyne Tees television, said on Twitter: "My car is stuck! I'm in a van with a prisoner and two cops called Emma and Alec!"

She said she had to jump in her high heels into the police vehicle.

A bus is submerged in rain water in Gateshead today. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Wear burst its banks at Cone Terrace, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, police said.

And there were disruptions on a number of rail lines in northern England, including the East Coast line where train services were suspended for a time between Newcastle and Edinburgh because of the heavy rain before restarting a limited service with major delays.

The Met Office said some areas had received far more rain than they would expect in September since Sunday, with Ravensworth in North Yorkshire receiving 108mm (4.3 inches) compared to the usual total for the month of 47mm (1.9 inches).

The heavy rain is due to a area of low pressure which had moved north across the country from the Bay of Biscay and was now off the north-east coast. Today it would be moving south-west again to the west of Wales bringing more rain to northern England and Wales, the Met Office said.

Motorists make their way through flood water in Washington, Tyne and Wear. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

About 30 to 40 residents in Newburn, Newcastle, were evacuated from their homes, and Mill Lane in the area has been cordoned off after it collapsed.

On the A690 westbound, just off the A19 west of Sunderland, Northumbria Police said the road had collapsed and was likely to remain closed "for some time".

Supt Dave Byrne said: "We are continuing to get a lot of calls - we will respond to all of them - only use the 999 service in an emergency situation and please be patient, we have a lot of officers out on the ground helping keep people safe."

Gale force winds drive waves over the coastal road at Sandsend, North Yorkshire yesterday. Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Environment Agency said 200 properties had been flooded since yesterday and warned communities across the north of England and Wales they should remain prepared for further flooding.

With more heavy rain on the way, surface water and river flooding are likely as the water moves down rivers over the next two days.

The number of flood warnings issued for rivers continued to increase today, with the majority focused on north-east England.