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Weather warning for East Lancashire
2:00pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Blackburn
A WEATHER warning has been issued for East Lancashire, with month's rain expected to fall in 36 hours.
Hundred of sandbags are being handed out to households as fears of floods face East Lancashire for the third successive week.
The Met Office warned last night that a month’s rain is set to fall in just 36 hours between now and Saturday evening.
The Environment Agency has also issued an amber alert running through to Saturday and is warning about the risk of localised flooding due to already saturated ground and high river levels.
In an unprecedented move by Blackburn with Darwen Council, staff have handed out flood defences for the first time in high risk areas - particularly in Darwen.
Distributing sand bags is normally just the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
They are also advising residents to move valuables, food and electrical items to higher levels if they are concerned, and to check their insurance policies.
Council leader Kate Hollern said: “Whilst we cannot prevent flooding, we are doing all we can to help residents and businesses in case of heavy rain again.
“We are giving out over 1,800 sandbags to those in the worst affected areas and are carrying out inspections across the borough so that gullies, drains and manholes are clear.
“The ground is still saturated following the recent heavy rain so it is important we make sure that we are preparing as much as we can.”
Areas to receive the sand bags will include the A666 Bolton Road, Duckworth Street, Bowling Green Close, Junction Street and Grimshaw Street in Darwen - the hardest hit areas.
The footpath around the lake at Ashton Park has also been closed because of a potentially dangerous wall.
Motorists are also being asked to drive carefully on water logged roads to prevent further water rising over sandbags.
Burnley and Rossendale Councils said they did not offer sandbags to residents. But Coun Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council, said they were working on 'long term solutions' to the flooding risk across the Valley.
She said: “We don’t offer sandbags ourselves, partly because of the problems of getting them to the right people in time and we find they aren’t sufficient here.
“Often it is flash flooding and it is difficult to get them out from Bacup to where they need to go.
“We are working closely with the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council to find some longer term solutions to this.”
Mick Cartledge, head of emergency planning at Bu-rnley Council, said: “We are keeping in close contact with the Environment Agency and the Met Office and have an agreed multi-agency flood plan which we will activate if necessary.”
Sandbags are also being deployed by Calderdale Council following recent flooding in Todmorden.
A Met Office spokesman said an average July’s rain is expected to fall in just 36 hours.
A spokesman said: “Friday will develop into persistent heavy rain affecting Lancashire, setting in from the late morning or early afternoon. There will be around 30-50mm of rain.
“There will be a brief period of showers later into the evening, but the rain will be reinvigorated on Saturday, with another 20-40mm expected.
“By Sunday, the majority of the rain will have fallen. There is potential for quite a spell of very wet weather.”
The average rainfall for Lancashire is 76.6mm in July.
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