Homes evacuated and hundreds rescued as Yorkshire floods bring travel chaos

Parts of England endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours, with scores ofpeople rescued or forced to evacuate their homes.

An Environment Agency (EA) rain gauge showed that Sheffield experienced 3.4in (85mm) of rain.

The average monthly rainfall total for Yorkshire at this time of year is 3.5in (89mm), although forecasters have predicted that the worst of the rain is now over.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said:

Some places have seen a month's worth of rain in one day.

Alex Burkill

Other parts of Yorkshire woke on Friday to their wettest day in years, with some areas set to experience major travel disruption following Thursday's deluge.

As of 9am on Friday, the EA had 111 flood warnings in place, a slight reduction on the number in place at dawn, as well as five severe "danger to life" warnings relating to the River Don at Barnby Dun, Kirk Bramwith, Kirk Sandall, South Bramwith and the Willow Bridge caravan site, which are all in Doncaster.

An additional 35 homes in Mansfield were evacuated as a precaution after a mudslide in the area, while residents in around 25 homes in Worksop were also ordered to flee due to the risk of flooding.

Damien West, head of prevention and protection at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted:

In Yorkshire, Doncaster Council told people in parts of Kirk Sandall to "evacuate immediately" at around 7am after the River Don breached its banks.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they rescued more than 100 stranded people on Thursday night, with around 500 calls to its control room between 10pm and 4am.

Elsewhere, around 30 people sought refuge in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield due to gridlocked traffic outside, as the extreme weather conditions meant those turning up for the Christmas lights switch-on were left stranded.

Shopper Saskia Hazelwood, 17, from Doncaster, told the PA news agency she and her friends "instantly started panicking" when they saw there was no way of getting home.

She said:

We were provided with free refreshments throughout the night and morning but it was certainly not enough.

Saskia Hazelwood

A spokeswoman confirmed that the shopping centre would open as normal at 10am on Friday.

She said:

We anticipate that nearly 80,000 people visited Meadowhall yesterday and less than 30 customers remained in our building throughout the night.

Meadowhall spokeswoman

Sheffield was particularly badly hit during flooding in summer 2007, which saw millions of pounds spend on prevention schemes.

Yet it was again hit by some of the most dramatic scenes on Thursday, with a number of roads left impassable to traffic, cars stranded in floodwater and gridlock resulting on many routes.

Rail operator Northern issued "do not travel" advice for passengers using five lines on its network hit by the deluge.

The lines involved are between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln, Sheffield and Goole, Hebden Bridge and Rochdale, and the line from Sheffield to Leeds via Moorthorpe.

Elsewhere, Saturday's horse-racing meeting at Doncaster has been cancelled due to a waterlogged track.

By midday the evacuation of Kirk Sandall had been stood down.