Communities in northern England were warned to prepare for significant flooding which could endanger life with a month’s worth of rain forecast to fall on already saturated ground.
Emergency crews were on standby to deal with torrential downpours and gales of 70mph as the aftermath of Hurricane Kate is expected to hit Britain on Saturday evening.
The north has already suffered days of heavy rain as Storm Abigail lashed the country. But The Met Office warned up to eight inches of rain could fall over the next 48 hours with flood water likely to flow off hills in torrents.
Rivers in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, North and West Yorkshire are at greatest risk of bursting their banks but flood warnings have also been issued for the Estuary Humber, the Severn Estuary, the Somerset Coast as well as West Anglesey, Cardigan Bay and the Dee Valley in Wales.
The Environment Agency said it was shipping two huge water pumps to Cumbria in anticipation but warned there was ‘possible danger to life’ from fast flowing and deep water.
Teams have begun urgently checking flood defences clearing blockages in watercourses ahead of the deluge which could see a month’s rain could fall on localised high ground.
Motorists have been warned not to attempt to drive through flood water.