Hundreds of flood risk warnings issued amid Boxing Day downpour

Soldiers help to set up flood defences in Appleby, after the Army was called in to support efforts to protect flood-hit areas of Cumbria.
Soldiers help to set up flood defences in Appleby, after the Army was called in to support efforts to protect flood-hit areas of Cumbria.

Residents and businesses in the North East are being urged to check their flood risk as rain continues.

As of 10am, the Environment Agency (EA) has three flood warnings in place in the North east

There are two flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected - at Lustrum Beck in Stockton-on-Tees and one for the River North Tyne at Chollerford, near Hexham.

There are also 17 flood alerts in place across the region, meaning flooding is possible.

Rain is expected to continue for the rest of the day, and residents are urged to keep a close eye on weather forecasts, and check their flood risk.

The North East Incident Room is open, and EA staff have been working around the clock throughout Christmas to check and maintain flood defences, clear blockages, keep screens clear and monitor water levels.

The heavy rain has already seen the postponement of Hartlepool United's League Two game v Notts County this afternoon. Middlesbrough's Championship game at Blackburn Rovers was also called off due to waterlogging.

Paul Constantine from the EA said: “The heavy rain through Christmas Day afternoon and overnight has led to high river levels across the north east.

“It’s expected rain will continue throughout Boxing Day, so it’s vital people keep up to date with the latest flood warning information.

“Current forecasts suggest the rain will ease off later this evening, but we’re continuing to closely monitor forecasts and river levels and will issue more alerts and warnings if necessary through today.

“We’ve had teams out on the ground monitoring river levels and removing blockages from screens to keep the rivers flowing, and we’re working closely with our partners.

“People are advised to stay away from swollen rivers and if you are travelling, check the flood risk before you set off.

"The public should not attempt to drive through flood water – 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”

Family calls for help on Christmas Day after flood water heads for Cleadon home

Residents and businesses are advised to be prepared and check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation HERE or by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

They can also stay up to date by following @EnvAgencyYNE and #floodaware on Twitter.

Cumbria and parts of Lancashire are expected to bear the brunt of today's wet weather.

Forecasters said up to 4.7ins (120mm) of rain could fall in some areas already saturated by wave after wave of winter squalls.

The average rainfall for the whole of December in the North West is 5.7ins (145mm) - so not far off a month's rain could lash the region in hours.

Around 120 flood alerts and 145 warnings were issued by the EA, mainly for the North West, North East and Wales.

Around 85% of the country's temporary flood barriers have already been sent to Cumbria, where rainfall has smashed records, and the Lakeland region braced itself again ahead of the deluge.