Warning over risk of flash floods as rain keeps falling

Flooding in the Vale of Glamorgan as forecasters warn that up to 70mm of rain could fall over the highest parts of the country on Sunday Credit: @JohnPDaviesUK/Twitter/PA

A day of heavy downpours has caused flooding in many parts of the country and left sections of the transport network struggling to cope – and more rain is on the way.

After a brief respite on Sunday morning, the north of England was forecast to see up to 70mm of rain in 24 hours, causing treacherous travel conditions.

By 4.30pm, Northern Rail was warning passengers to expect delays and cancellations for the rest of the day as it struggled to deal with the deluge.

Trains between Blackpool North and Preston were delayed due to flooding and stretches of track in Cheshire were also hit.

A yellow warning for rain will come into force at 3pm on Monday. Credit: Met Office

Speed restrictions were put in place between Wigan and Southport, and Leeds and Harrogate.

There was no service from Sheffield to Manchester due to water on the tracks, and there were speed restrictions in the opposite direction.

The rail operator warned it had imposed speed restrictions on many parts of its network due to safety concerns.

The Environment Agency has 61 localised flood warnings across England and Wales, plus 169 alerts for possible flooding.

Northern Rail asked cycling fans turning out for the final day of the UCI Road World Championships in North Yorkshire to rethink their travel plans after the route had to be changed to avoid flooding.

The fanzone in Harrogate also had to be closed.

Despite the heavy weather, the Men’s Elite Road Race went ahead although organisers had to amend the route to skip some of the most scenic parts of the Upper Dales.

Undeterred, thousands of fans lined the route with umbrellas and wellies to watch one of the biggest events on the cycling calendar.

The race crosses the bridge at Wensley Credit: Tim Goode/PA

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We were really disappointed for the race organisers as they had to take the decision to curtail the route.

“We were particularly sorry for those communities in Reeth and Grinton who were looking forward to the race after the difficulties they have faced during July’s flash floods.

“(The) decision was unavoidable because we had to ensure the safety of cyclists and spectators and to concentrate assets in other places to enable the race to go ahead at all.

“But so many heroic spectators still came out for what has been an extremely wet but a spectacular finish to a great week with many highlights.”

Elsewhere, the inaugural Regatta London race, which was due to take place on the River Thames on Sunday, had to be cancelled.

Organisers said they were unable to run the event safely due to the stormy weather affecting the river’s water quality.

More rain is on the way, falling on ground that is already waterlogged.

Alex Burkill, a meteorologist with the Met Office, said: “Monday is going to start off pretty fine for most places, however a system is going to come in through the day reaching south-west England and Wales by 10am tomorrow morning and spreading eastwards as we go through the day.

“By evening rush hour, much of England and Wales will be pretty wet.”

Another 70mm could fall over the highest areas.

Northern Ireland and Scotland are due some more sunshine after a fairly bright day on Sunday.

Mr Burkill said: “Monday will be another very wet one for England and Wales but for Scotland and Northern Ireland, they are going to have another fairly dry day, just a few showers and some bright spells.”

He said parts of England and Wales could see highs of 19C (66.2F) or 20C (68F), a little above average for the time of year, but this would be masked by the wind and rain.

“It’s not going to feel pleasant by any means,” he said.