Local residents and visitors in Cumbria and parts of the north of England are being urged to prepare for the risk of significant flooding from today and throughout this week, the Environment Agency has said.
The public should sign up to flood warnings and check the latest safety advice.
The Environment Agency is already working with partners across the north-west of England to reduce the flood risk brought on by the heavy and persistent rain.
It has taken action in advance of severe weather by shutting flood gates and clearing debris from grilles to ensure watercourses are free of blockages.
Environment Agency teams and contractors are standing by ready to operate flood storage areas and other defences, deploy temporary barriers and pumps where needed to help protect communities.
As of 1pm on 27 October there are three flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 15 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible. However, it is expected for this number to increase significantly as rain falls overnight.
Ben Lukey, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “A slow moving band of heavy and persistent rain could bring surface water and river flooding and disruption to travel to communities in Cumbria and parts of the north of England from today (Wednesday) through to Friday and Saturday.
“Working with our partners in local resilience forums, Environment Agency teams have been out on the ground clearing waste grilles and screens, and stand ready to operate flood defences if needed.
“They are also ready to support local authorities in their response to surface water flooding.
“We are urging residents and visitors, especially holidaymakers in the Lake District, to stay alert and check their flood risk by signing up for free flood warnings on the Gov.uk website and via @EnvAgency on Twitter, which offer the latest updates.”
Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen, said: “We could see some large rainfall totals over the next day or two due to a slow-moving cold front and amber and yellow National Severe Weather Warnings are in place.
“100 to 150mm of rainfall is likely to accumulate quite widely throughout parts of Cumbria, with 200 to 250mm across some of the Cumbrian fells.
“These amounts of rainfall present a real threat of flooding and transport disruption, with difficult driving conditions and possible road closures.