Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Flood warnings after heavy rain

River Irwell, Ramsbottom
The River Irwell is subject to a flood watch

People in parts of Lancashire are being warned to prepare for possible floods after forecasters predicted more rain.

North-west England is facing downpours that will bring a month's rain in 36 hours, the BBC Weather Centre said.

Flood watches are in place for the River Darwen at Higher Walton, the Ribble at Walton-le-Dale.

The River Irwell has already burst its banks into Nuttall Park, Ramsbottom, and Chatterton and Strongstry were earlier said to be at risk.

Several other areas around the Irwell, which runs from Bacup, Lancashire, to Salford, are subject to flood watches.

An Environment Agency flood watch means that flooding of low lying land and roads is expected.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings, saying some areas could get 50-100mm (2-4in) of rain.

The fire service and all relevant agencies have been informed and we are carefully monitoring the situation
Lancashire County Council spokesman

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said they were expecting flooding to property in the north-west of England, particularly Cumbria.

"Environment Agency teams are working around the clock, monitoring river levels and are out on the ground checking flood defences and clearing debris from rivers," he said.

People are being urged to remain vigilant and check the latest flooding situation on the agency website.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said the relevant agencies "were prepared" and a contingency plan was in place if the situation became worse.

"There's no risk to life at the moment and no evacuations are in place.

Flooding at Nuttall Park, Ramsbottom
The Irwell flooded into Nuttall Park overnight

"The fire service and all relevant agencies have been informed and we are carefully monitoring the situation," he said. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said it was expecting an increase in calls but urged the public only to call in a "genuine flooding emergency".

In a statement, it said its firefighters had sometimes been asked to deal with situations "more appropriate for the services of a plumber or a builder".

Extra staff have been put on duty to deal with the expected number of calls, it said.

Lancashire police are warning motorists to take extra care after a number of minor collisions in the wet weather.

The roads affected include the A59 at Gisburn, the A583 at Kirkham and the county's motorways.

Several flood-watches are in place across the region.

The River Eden, the River Wyre and the River Lune are among those being monitored.

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