Norfolk fire and rescue team help tackle “unprecedented” floods in the north of England

The Urban Search and Rescue Team from Norfolk Fire and Rescue help with the national response to the

The Urban Search and Rescue Team from Norfolk Fire and Rescue help with the national response to the floods in Leeds. Photo: Norfolk Fire and Rescue - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue

Crews from the region's fire services have been doing vital work in helping the people of West Yorkshire who are dealing with 'unprecedented' floods.

Army and Rescue teams patrol York City centre streets underwater from rising floodwaters from the R

Army and Rescue teams patrol York City centre streets underwater from rising floodwaters from the River Ouse. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire - Credit: PA

After being deployed at 5.40pm on Boxing Day, an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team of seven from Norfolk Fire and Rescue were sent to assist with the response to the floods in Leeds.

Bob Ayers, a tactical flood adviser from the Norfolk service, has also been despatched to help.

James Belcher, duty group manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue, said: 'Since their arrival they have been undertaking work and have rescued four people and a cat.

Mr Belcher added that the team is expected to be out of the county for the rest of the day and possibly over night depending on the developing situation.

The USAR team has now been redeployed to the city of York and Cawood areas of North Yorkshire.

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The situation on the ground

Hundreds more people are being evacuated as flooding continues to cause misery across the north of England.

Police advised between 300 and 400 people to evacuate in York by the River Ouse and River Foss, with hundreds more believed to be at risk.

Hundreds of residents in West Yorkshire and Lancashire were evacuated from their homes on Saturday and thousands were left without power due to widespread flooding.

Dozens of severe flood warnings were still in place in Yorkshire and the North West but no further rain warnings were issued.

A spokeswoman at North Yorkshire Police said the force has advised between 300 and 400 people to evacuate in York, although some people had chosen to stay.

The Met Office said the worst-hit areas would see very little rain today – 1-2mm at most in the late afternoon.

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued 31 severe flood warnings, signalling a risk to life, although many of the rivers involved were predicted to have reached peak levels.

• The River Aire, in Leeds, was predicted by the EA to have reached 'record levels' at 11pm last night (December 26), with nine severe flood warnings in place.

Residents in York city centre, Huntington, Tang Hall, Osbaldwick and Foss Island were advised to start moving valuables to upper floors and to prepare to be evacuated.

The EA said pumps in the Foss Barrier were at risk of electrical failure due to water entering the building and a decision had been taken to lift the barrier.

• York City Council said an emergency meeting had been held and the River Ouse was expected to peak at more than 5 yards above normal summer levels on Monday afternoon.

Record levels were also reached in the River Calder catchment area. The EA said river levels were now expected to fall but there was still an ongoing risk.