Leeds & West Yorkshire

Water safety plea at West Yorkshire flood areas

Stranded car near Skipton
Image caption A car was abandoned on a flooded road near Skipton earlier

Serious flooding in Yorkshire has prompted the Environment Agency to warn onlookers to stay away from affected areas.

The call comes less than 24 hours after torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks and flood warnings to be issued at 39 sites.

Alerts are in force in West Yorkshire on the rivers Calder, Colne and Aire.

Agency spokesman Mark Scott said safety was now a prime concern, with drivers urged not to use submerged roads.

Flood warnings were in force for the River Ouse in York and the River Ure at Roecliffe.

Boats used

Water levels on the Rivers Aire and Nidd at their lower reaches have also prompted warnings.

Flood sirens were sounded on Friday in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden warning of imminent flooding.

West Yorkshire fire service said it had responded to a "very high" number of flood calls, especially in Todmorden.

BBC reporter Dan Johnson, speaking from Mytholmroyd, said the River Calder had burst its banks in the town centre - flooding businesses and homes.

He said there was 2ft (0.6m) of water in the main street and the fire service was using inflatable boats.

Mr Scott said more rainfall was expected in the area, but it was not expected to be as bad as that experienced earlier.

'Highest level'

He said: "Last night between 50 and 100mm of rain fell which is quite exceptional

"Intense rainfall periods in a catchment that is steep-sided mean that anything that happens, happens very quickly.

"At one point last night [the Calder] was rising at a rate of two feet every 15 minutes.

"The river itself was at the highest ever recorded since we've had reliable records at 10ft (3.04m) above its normal level.

"I understand the attraction of seeing a river actually in full spate, but people should stay from flooded areas.

"And please, my last plea - if you see a flooded area do not drive through it in your car we'd like people to stay safe."

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