230 flood warnings and alerts in force as ‘near biblical’ downpours batter UK

The Environment Agency has issued 113 flood warnings and 117 alerts as torrential downpours hit the UK.

Britain was hit by 'near biblical' flooding yesterday, with evacuations and even mudslides taking place.

The Met Office's amber weather warning for heavy rain covering parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands is in place until 6am and communities are bracing themselves for more of the deluge which resulted in travel chaos on Thursday.

Some 35 homes were evacuated as a precaution in Mansfield after a mudslide in the area while hundreds of people were kept inside Meadowhall Shopping centre near Sheffield due to gridlocked traffic outside.

Darren Butt, who works for emergency contractors Streets Ahead, told the BBC : "The situation is not far from biblical, it is very frustrating for the traveller but we are dealing with a big volume of water, it is very slow and frustrating."

An Environment Agency flooding forecast predicts: "Widespread flooding is probable from surface water and rivers in West and South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire… into early Friday morning.

"Land, roads and some properties could flood and there could be travel disruption.

"Widespread river and surface water flooding is possible across other parts of the north of England, the Midlands and Lincolnshire, and is possible but not expected for surface water flooding for parts of north Wales on Thursday and Friday.

"Local flooding is also possible elsewhere across the Midlands, East Anglia, the north of England, and north Wales on Thursday and Friday. Properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.

"Local river and surface water flooding is also possible across the south of England and south Wales on Friday and is possible but not expected more widely across England and Wales on Saturday.

"Land, roads and some properties may flood and there may be travel disruption."

The Met Office previously warned up to 100mm of rain, almost a month's worth, could fall in some parts of the UK yesterday and today.

South Yorkshire Police declared there were "significant issues" in Doncaster yesterday, with Bentley, Toll Bar and Scawthorpe the worst affected areas.

The force said: "The local authority are asking that people do not drive or leave their properties unless necessary."

The weather has also caused train services to be cancelled and Northern Rail issued a "do not travel" warning to commuters using three routes, saying flooding had closed the lines between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln and Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria.

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were called to Bank End Close in Mansfield alongside the fire service and Mansfield District Council just before 5pm yesterday following concerns for the safety of people living in the houses.

Some of the most dramatic scenes were in Sheffield and Rotherham where a number of roads were left impassable to traffic, cars stranded in floodwater and gridlock resulting on many routes.

A number of houses were evacuated after they were inundated in the village of Whiston, near Rotherham, and, in Sheffield, the council closed Millhouses Park, where a 14-year-old boy was swept to his death in the River Sheaf during the devastating floods in the city in 2007.

South Yorkshire Police said they were working to move "a number of people" who were stranded in the Parkgate Shopping Park in Rotherham to "a place of safety".

There was gridlock at Sheffield's Meadowhall Shopping Centre, also flooded in 2007, after it cancelled its Christmas Live event last night.

With many surrounding routes flooded and trams stopping short of the complex due to "heavy rain putting the Tinsley tram bridge at risk", gridlock led to police advising shoppers and concert goers to stay in the building.

Concerns were also growing in the Calder valley, in Yorkshire, as river levels began to rise.

Precautionary flood barriers were put in place in the Yorkshire village of Mytholmroyd, which was badly hit in the 2015 Boxing Day floods

Met Office five-day weather forecast

Today:

Fog patches slow to clear from southern England. A band of rain across Wales and the Midlands will edge southeastwards and die out. Northwestern areas dry with plenty of sunshine. Showers affecting northeastern parts. Windy in places and feeling cold.

Tonight:

Showers clearing the far southeast. Long clear periods for most parts with a widespread frost and a few fog patches forming. Rain reaching the far west by dawn.

Saturday:

Rain in the west, heavy at times, moving slowly eastwards into central areas; some snow on hills. Fog patches elsewhere slowly clearing then some sunshine, but cloud increasing. Feeling cold.

Outlook for Sunday to Tuesday:

Rain clearing southern areas early Sunday then most parts dry with sunny spells. Further rain or showers on Monday and Tuesday. Often windy and staying rather cold.

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