FLOOD alerts have been issued across East Lancashire - just 48 hours after snow wreaked havoc across the area.

Heavy flurries caused problems in several locations, with 20 to 30 cars abandoned in and around the A56 between Rising Bridge and Haslingden.

Lancashire Police was forced to issue an urgent appeal to drivers to retrieve their cars so all routes could fully reopen safely.

Vehicles were also left near the roundabouts near Sykeside and Grane Road as the sheer force of the snow shower left driving near-impossible.

Bus services were diverted or cancelled across East Lancs and the M6 near Leyland was also brought to a standstill when a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow at around 8.30pm on Friday, the Highways Agency said.

A number of accidents including jack-knifed lorries blocked lanes and mountain rescue workers were drafted in to help and check on the condition of drivers stranded by the snow.

A diabetic man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital after falling ill, while an ambulance taking a female patient to Royal Preston Hospital had to be dug out of the snow by Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team.

Phil O'Brien, team leader of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue, said: "It was potentially a very serious situation. The Highways Agency managed to get people moving at about 4.30 to 5am on Saturday.

"There were hundreds of cars stuck but most people seemed in good spirits."

Snowfall caused the roof of one former Rossendale pub roof to collapse in the early hours of Saturday. The Buck Inn at Cowpe is being converted into two private homes.

Neighbour Barry Stewart said: “It was around 2am when my wife and I heard a loud bang. At first we just thought something had fallen over but one of my neighbours came round and said I should have a look.”

Falling masonry from the building also smashed onto the roof of a red van parked outside. Property owner Nigel Adamthwaite is believed to be away.

Rising temperatures and rain on Saturday night and yesterday then prompted a rapid thaw, leading to flood warnings being issued for at least six main waterways locally.

Environment Agency officials said the River Ribble at Samlesbury, and the River Darwen, including Pleasington and Blackburn, was at risk of flooding.

And the Rivers Calder, Brun, Don and Pendle Water, from Laneshawbridge to the River Ribble including Trawden, Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Accrington and Whalley, will be similarly affected.