TORRENTIAL rain over the weekend saw a soggy start to the Christmas break for motorists, shoppers and residents in East Lancs.

Blackburn Rovers' home tie with Brighton and Hove Albion was the most high-profile casualty of the downpours.

But residents in Ewood were also left counting the cost, with back streets flooded across the area.

Andrea Donnelly, of Bolton Road, said flood water had not drained away from previous storms, because of blocked drains, leaving fresh problems.

And investigations are underway after a pipe collapsed under the Queen’s Square roundabout in Rawtenstall, outside the town’s fire station, causing up to 18-inches of floodwater and prompting traffic jams.

A Rawtenstall fire station spokesman said: “We have had our water shut off while they try and carry out repairs. A bit of the ground has collapsed on the forecourt of the station.

“The engines are still fine getting out, but staff can’t drive onto the car park. One of the pipes has burst and it’s cause the road to collapse.”

Chris Trickett, who runs the J A Taylor Ford garage in nearby Bury Road, which has been flooded previously, was out with a spade clearing leaves from street grids.

He added: “It is a really all about maintenance - these storm drains become blocked and it just makes the problem worse.”

Flood warnings were issued for East Lancs river including the Hodder, Calder and Irwell and a number of fording problems were reported.

Windy Bridge, linking Burnley’s Cliviger Gorge to Todmorden, was badly affected and rainwater was observed gushing down nearby hillsides.

More rain is predicted by weather forecasters for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - with it only brightening up potentially on Boxing Day.