Flood warnings in North West England follow heavy rainfall

Croston Road, Lostock Hall The agency said the rain could lead to surface water flooding of roads and land

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People living in the North West of England have been warned over the risk of flooding following heavy rainfall across the region.

The Environment Agency has issued a number of warnings for rivers in Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.

Up to 50-60mm (2-2.4in) of rainfall was expected and in some places that was predicted to rise to 100mm (4in).

The rain has led to Olympic torch relay events in Lancashire and a girl guiding festival in Cheshire being cancelled.

A Northern Rail spokesman said weather conditions had caused flooding on the Atherton West Bound railway line near Wigan and a replacement bus service had been laid on.

The rain could lead to surface water flooding of roads and land, the Environment Agency said.

Swollen rivers

There is also a risk of floods from rivers in built-up areas which are quickly affected by large amounts of rainfall.

The government agency has issued flood warnings for the upper parts of several rivers, including the river Irwell in Manchester, the river Mersey at Hyde, Ashton-under-Lyne, Denton, Stalybridge and Glossop, the river Glaze at Leigh and East Wigan, and the river Douglas at Addlington, Blackrod, Wigan, Standish and Gathurst.

A spokesman said the agency would open the flood storage basin gates at about 21:00 BST to allow "excess water to flow into there and stop the Mersey bursting".

Dave Watson carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Lancaster Soldier Dave Watson who lost three limbs on tour in Afghanistan braved the rain through Lancaster

He also urged people in Liverpool, the Wirral, North Cheshire and Lancashire to be prepared for the possibility of flooding.

People are being warned to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwater.

Events surrounding the Olympic torch relay's journey through Lancashire have been affected by the weather and alterations have been made to the torch's route to avoid flooding.

The evening celebration of the torch's arrival in Blackpool, planned for the town's outdoor Tower Festival Headland venue, has been cancelled, with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron taking place at the indoor ticket-only dance event at the Tower Ballroom instead.

Guides 'waterlogged'

Elsewhere, outdoor sports displays, entertainment and street theatre planned for Garstang, Fleetwood and Cleveleys have been cancelled.

In Cheshire, organisers of the girl guiding festival Fabfest, which was due to take place at the Tabley Showground near Knutsford on Saturday, said it had been cancelled due to "the site being waterlogged".

Blackpool torch route changes

  • The torch will arrive in Blackpool on St George's Ave, before turning right on Anchorsholme Lane E to join Fleetwood Road as previously organised
  • When the torch arrives at Gynn Square, it will go down Dickson Road, then Talbot Road and rejoin the original route again on Market Street
  • The flame will then go through the town centre before entering the Tower

In Merseyside, the weekend-long free Africa Oye festival in Liverpool's Sefton Park has been cancelled and the Croxteth Park Music Festival, which was due to take place on Sunday, has been postponed and will now take place on 5 August.

The rain followed the issuing of a severe weather warning by the Met Office.

Heather Stott, BBC weather presenter in the North West, said: "There will be heavy and prolonged rain through the day, difficult driving conditions and the risk of localised flooding.

"It's going to feel pretty windy too. Gale force winds gusting to 50mph will make for a blustery day.

"The wet and windy weather will continue through the day, clearing all but Cumbria and north Lancashire by the end of the night.

"It will be wet and windy at times on Saturday - but much more showery, with more heavy and persistent rain during Sunday."

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