PEOPLE across parts of northern England are being warned over the risk of flooding today as the region looks set to be battered by heavy rain.
The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain across parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire, with 50-60mm (2-2.4 inches) of rainfall expected across much of the area and up to 100mm (4 inches) in some places.
Firefighters in North Yorkshire said they responded to more than 25 flooding calls as a wave of heavy rain moved across the county.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said crews were sent to 14 locations, many involving flooded properties, although the incidents are thought to have been isolated.
He said areas affected were around Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge in the west of the county and Bedale and Leeming Bar in the north.
There were also reports a house was damaged when it was struck by lightning in Osgodby, near Selby.
Police in West Yorkshire were investigating whether “awful” weather conditions were responsible for a crash on the A1 last night, in which two officers were injured.
The police car, which was travelling north, veered up an embankment and came to rest on the hard shoulder near Wetherby services at 7.32pm.
No other vehicles were involved in the incident and it is believed there was a large amount of surface water on the motorway at the time.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The weather at the time was pretty awful so obviously that will play a major factor in the investigation.”
The motorway was closed for 90 minutes while the air ambulance landed and the scene was investigated.
The two officers were taken to Leeds General Infirmary with non-life-threatening injuries.
In Leeds, storm water flooded a school last night. Firefighters were called to pump out classrooms at St Nicholas’s primary school in Oakwood Lane at Oakwood, east of the city.
The alarm was raised around 6 pm.
Gipton fire station Watch Commander Chris Rose said: “A storm drain burst and rainwater flooded down a hill into the school playground and into the school.
“We were there for about three hours pumping it out to get it below the damp course so cleaners could go in. The classrooms won’t be in use today.”
A second Gipton crew was called out to deal with flooding of four houses in Brooklands Lane at Seacroft after a beck burst its banks.
A Yorkshire Water spokesman said: “Yorkshire Water responded to several calls in the Gipton area last night, including one to flooding at St Nicholas’s Primary School in Oakwood Lane.
“Eyewitness reports suggest that a sewer surcharged, causing water to run down the hill and flood several classrooms.
“We immediately sent out a team to help support the clean-up effort, which was being led by West Yorkshire Fire Service.
“Clearly we would like to apologise to the school for any inconvenience caused by this unfortunate incident.”
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “It affected the reception classes and foundation classes. Parents have been informed and those children are not in school today. Alternative arrangements have been made for Monday.”
The heavy rain could lead to surface water flooding of roads and land, and there is also a risk of floods from rivers in built-up areas which are quickly affected by large amounts of rainfall, the Environment Agency warned.
The Government agency has urged people in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, the Wirral, North Cheshire and Lancashire to be prepared for the possibility of flooding from this afternoon through to Saturday.
Parts of south-east England, East Anglia, the north and east Midlands and north and west Wales are also on alert for localised surface water flooding today and into the weekend, the Environment Agency said.
Matt Dobson, a forecaster with Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “The worst weather overnight has been across the North West and into Cheshire, where between 10-20mm (0.4-0.8 inches) fell. Central and southern Scotland were also badly hit.
“Throughout the day the rain really is going to develop from South West Scotland, across Northern Ireland down into north-west England.
“It will be very wet in those areas, with the worst of it in Cumbria and the western Pennines, from Manchester up to Cumbria and across into south-west Scotland, and in north-west Wales as well.
“There will be 20-30mm (0.8-1.2 inches) of rain quite widely, with maybe as much as 50-60mm (2-2.4 inches) of rain over upland areas such as the fells of Cumbria and the western Pennines.”
The EA said it had mobilised teams across the North West to check flood defences, clear river blockages and monitor river levels to try to reduce the risk of flooding.
The public are also urged to remain vigilant and check the Environment Agency website and Twitter feed for the latest updates and warnings, with a number of flood alerts and more serious warnings expected.
People are being warned to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwater.
Parts of England and Wales have been hit by flooding in recent weeks in the face of unusually wet weather, which came after two dry winters in a row that had left swathes of England in drought.