UPDATE: Hundreds of families told to evacuate as Boxing Day deluge batters Lancashire
Emergency services are advising more than 500 residents to evacuate their properties as Lancashire takes a Boxing Day battering from the weather.
The most severe warnings remain in place in Ribchester and other parts of the Ribble Valley and St Michaels in Wyre, following the issue of Severe Flood Warnings by the Environment Agency which indicate potential risk to life.
Residents in Ribchester and Whalley are being taken to a rest centre at Longridge Civic Hall, Willow Park, Calder Avenue, Longridge. Residents in St Michaels are taking shelter at the Grapes Public House. People are advised to stay away from these areas so that they don’t impede evacuations.
Further ‘rest centres’ have been set up at the Town Hall in Chorley, Whalley Golf Club and Haslingden Leisure Centre as localised flooding causes chaos around the county.
Lancashire is currently experiencing the rainfall that was expected to fall in Cumbria and potentially a further 50-80 mm may fall in the next few hours as the band of rain currently over Lancashire moves northwards in the afternoon before returning in the early to mid-evening.
Readers have also sent reports and images of severe flooding in Croston, Walton-le-Dale, Buckshaw Village and Rivington.
An Environment Agency spokesman posted online: “We have seen heavy rainfall over Lancashire with totals of up to 45 mm of rain which has already fallen on the higher ground. The latest forecast suggests that over the next 24 hours we can expect another 70mm over the wider area and up to 100 mm locally over the higher ground.
“The ground is saturated and rivers have already risen throughout the night. With this recent forecast we are concerned about areas that have already been affected over recent weeks and ask people to be prepared, move valuables and take advice from emergency services about evacuation.”
The weather warnings are another blow for people whose homes were badly affected by flooding earlier this month.
Fire crews in Lancaster saved the life of an elderly man after his car was stranded in three feet of floodwater.
Crew manager Wayne Friend and his team had just completed another job when they were approached by a police officer telling them a resident was trapped on Bottomdale Road.
They rushed to the scene where they found the man, believed to be in his 60s, inside his Vauxhall Astra, surrounded by water.
Mr Friend said: “We took the decision to save the man without specialist gear as it could have taken more than hour for it to arrive from Ribchester and we were concerned about the elderly man developing hypothermia.
“We used waders and approached the vehicle slowly and got the man out.”- More to follow.