Hundreds of people are being evacuated from their homes as floods continue to cause havoc across northern England. More than 350 flood warningsand alerts have been issued across Lancashire and Yorkshire, including 31 severe warnings.
The River Foss has threatened to overwhelm flood barriers near York city centre, with local police warning that as many as 3,500 homes could be affected. A severe flood warning is also in place for Leeds city centre, with the River Aire expected to burst its banks. Salford and Manchester are also affected.
The Met Office issued its most severe rainfall warning for parts of northern England on Boxing Day, meaning there is "a danger to life". Around 5 inches of rain is forecast to fall over the weekend, leading to widespread river flooding.
Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a Cobra committee meeting on 27 December to discuss the crisis. "My thoughts are with people whose homes have been flooded. I'll chair a Cobra call tomorrow to ensure everything is being done to help," Cameron wrote on Twitter.
"On Boxing Day we have issued several severe flood warnings meaning a risk to life, we urge people to check their flood risk, prepare for flooding, follow advice from emergency services and never to risk driving through flood water," said Alison Baptiste, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency.
"Environment Agency staff have been working around the clock throughout Christmas with our emergency response partners and the help of the military in Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire to help reduce the potential impacts of flooding and support those communities affected."
The BBC reported that some 2,200 homes near the River Foss in York were being evacuated, with residents advised to move their valuable belongings upstairs.
Kellie Hughes, a hairdresser who lives in the village of Whalley in Lancashire, told the broadcaster: "It's just horrific, really bad. I've got the sandbags down here and just doing the best I possibly can.
"There are no more sandbags anywhere. People are panicking. That's my business and my home, it's a double whammy."