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The severe flood warnings – the EA’s highest level of warning – are for two locations on the River Ribble at Ribchester and three locations on the River Calder at Whalley.

A red weather warning was also issued in Lancashire and Yorkshire by the Met Office.

The Army has been deployed to help set up flood defences and evacuate residents.

People have been advised to move valuables and take advice from emergency services about evacuation.

A further 208 lower-level flood warnings are in place for regions across northern England and Wales. 

Another 129 less severe flood alerts have also been issued – including 10 for the Midlands.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency also issued five flood alerts and eight flood warnings.

The Government’s emergency Cobra committee met on Christmas Day while a company from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, helped communities across the North West build miles of temporary flood defences.