MORE than 11,000 homes and businesses are being protected by flood defences and owners of 7,000 properties have been issued with warnings as people were forced to flee after more than a month's worth of rain fell in 24 hours.
The Environment Agency said people should remain vigilant and warned of further rain throughout Saturday and into Sunday in areas of northern England already counting the cost of what it said was "exceptional rainfall and record river levels".
There are 95 areas under a flood warning, where rivers are expected to burst their banks, with a further 51 on alert for possible flooding as defences in areas including Preston, Wigan, Catterall and Garstang were used to stop the rising water.
The deluge battered revellers at the Isle of Wight Festival and brought havoc to Cumbria which buckled under the worst of the wet weather.
As much as 100mm of rain fell on the region overnight, while south-west Scotland, Northern Ireland and Lancashire also experienced unusually heavy rainfall.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: "A month's rain has fallen over parts of north-west and north-east England in the last 24 hours and with further rain expected later today, we would urge the public to remain vigilant and sign up to Environment Agency flood warnings.
"We also urge the public to stay away from fast-flowing, swollen rivers and not to drive through floodwater."
The outlook for the coming days is more promising. A band of wet weather is expected to sweep the country from west to east. Forecasts suggest it will pass relatively quickly, meaning no one place should see more than five hours of rain.
Amounts of between 10mm-15mm are expected to fall quite widely before clearing in many areas on Sunday, with much of the country expected to see a dry day on Monday.
Met Office severe weather warnings are in place in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands, the South West, Northern Ireland, Strathclyde, south-west and central Scotland, the Lothians, the Scottish Borders, Tayside and Fife.