Life-threatening floods have hit parts of the UK with ‘persistent and heavy rain’ expected to last all day.
Homes have been flooded and rail services disrupted after severe downpours in northern England and Scotland.
Up to 300mm is expected to fall in parts of the Cumbria, which typically sees an average of 160mm in October.
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said a month’s worth of rain could fall in the next 24 hours, describing the weather as ‘notable’.
She added: ‘The rainfall total is much higher than the average rainfall for this time of year, definitely, and in general, for any time of year it’s a lot of rainfall in a short period of time.’
Cumbria has been issued with an amber ‘danger to life’ weather warning lasting until midnight.
Drivers have been advised to only travel if necessary after roads became impassable due to floodwater.
Honister Pass in the Lake District has seen more than a foot (30cm) of rain in 36 hours.
South Lakes Police tweeted that the A591 Rydal to Grasmere was not passible ‘due to the depth of flood waters in several locations’ and urged people not to take unnecessary risks and only to travel if they really need to.
Trains and bus services are also expected to be delayed and cancelled – while some communities will be cut off by the floodwater and could lose power.
Forecasters said rain is likely to become more showery and less persistent, albeit still heavy at times, during Thursday night and Friday, when heavy rain will continue.
Stewart Mounsey, the Environment Agency’s flood risk manager for Cumbria, said ‘a handful of properties’ had flooded ‘but that’s obviously devastating for those involved’.
‘We’re still gathering the number of those and locations,’ he added.
The miserable weather has caused disruption to cross-border rail services, with Avanti West Coast advising passengers not to travel from stations in the north-west of England and Scotland before Friday.
In Scotland, the downpours come just days before world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit.
Twelve flood warnings are in place in the Scottish Borders, where the council is advising people in Hawick living in at-risk areas near the river to ‘consider plans for evacuating their homes’.
Traffic Scotland said it had reports of flooding on the M74/A74(M) around Abington in South Lanarkshire, while just before 7am the entry slip at J13 was blocked due to a car stuck in water.
Train services were also disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services.
ScotRail tweeted that ‘there’s disruption on many routes this morning due to extremely heavy rain’.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning of rain for south-west Scotland until 3pm.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: ‘The conditions could potentially bring disruption to the trunk road and rail networks, so it’s important people plan their journeys before they set off.’
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 17 flood warnings and five flood alerts mainly covering southern Scotland.
Scottish Borders council said that further rainfall predicted through the morning and into the afternoon is set to have an impact on river levels later in the day.
It said that the Teviot in Hawick has risen overnight, but is currently stabilising.
A further peak level is expected at around 11am, potentially around 2.8m, but is not expected to lead to property flooding.
A second, more significant peak of around 3m is forecast at around 5pm, although the council said this is ‘entirely dependent on the rainfall intensity and location during the course of the day’.
Pascal Lardet, flood duty manager for Sepa, said: ‘River and surface water flooding is likely, particularly in eastern Dumfries & Galloway and western Scottish Borders.’
‘There could be localised flooding to low-lying land and roads, disruption to travel and flooding in parts of communities. We are monitoring the situation closely with partners in areas such as Hawick, Newcastleton and Langholm.’
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