Communities face flood warnings

Banbury Cake: A resident of Knaresborough wades through water following flooding from the River Nidd in the North Yorkshire town A resident of Knaresborough wades through water following flooding from the River Nidd in the North Yorkshire town

Heavy downpours in parts of the UK since Sunday have raised river levels and flooded hundreds of homes and businesses, while there was chaos on the travel network when railways and roads were swamped by high water levels.

Around 570 properties have been flooded across England and Wales as a result of what has been described as the most intense September storm for 30 years.

River levels remain high in the areas worst hit by the bad weather, including in York where around 100 properties are flooded and the Ouse has reached a peak of more than five metres above normal - the second highest level recorded. It is expected to remain at that peak for the next 24 to 48 hours but officials in the historic city are optimistic that the flood defences will hold.

Efforts, including the help of soldiers, to put thousands of sandbags on top of existing flood defences at the nearby village of Cawood have protected several hundred homes, the Environment Agency said.

Although there are still 35 warnings of possible flooding in place, mostly in the North East, elsewhere in the country the situation is improving and river levels are receding.

People living close to a block of townhouses in Newburn, Newcastle, whose foundations were exposed when floodwater gouged out the ground under the building, have been evacuated again.

Residents of Spencer Court in Mill Vale have spent the last two nights in temporary accommodation and now people who were allowed back into their homes in nearby buildings have been asked to leave again as a precaution.

An 11-year-old boy struck by lightning in Swindon, Wiltshire is in a stable condition in hospital, doctors said. The family of Joe Compton, who was hit as he stood in the car park of Dorcan Academy, thanked PE staff and leisure centre staff who came to his aid, saying they owe a "huge amount of thanks" to them.

On the roads, a small section of the northbound carriageway of the A1 remained closed in the Catterick area for much of the day but the Highways Agency said at least one lane should be open by late afternoon. The bridge which carries the A659 over the River Wharfe at Tadcaster is still closed.

Some areas of the UK have seen around 4in (100mm) of rain in the past few days. Ravensworth village in North Yorkshire has seen the heaviest rainfall, receiving 5.2in (131mm) since Sunday. Rhyl in North Wales has had 3.8in (97.2mm) of rain since Sunday, well above the area's average total for September.

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