FURTHER heavy rain today was casting a shadow over Christmas preparations in York and North Yorkshire, with warnings that travel could be disrupted and river levels might rise further.

The Environment Agency said that with bands of rain falling on saturated ground, surface water flooding was likely.

And there were concerns about flooding from the River Ouse later in the weekend and on Christmas Eve, as rainfall in the Yorkshire Dales worked its way downstream.

The river, which was already flooding areas such as Kings Staith and St George’s Field car park yesterday, was expected to peak at about 3.9 metres above normal summer levels last night before today’s further deluge.

The agency said yesterday it expected between ten and 20 millimetres in the York area today, and up to 30 millimetres in the Dales.

Phil Younge, the agency’s regional flood and coastal risk manager, said: “Our operations staff are busy clearing culverts and other drainage channels and monitoring river levels, and we are in a heightened state of vigilance.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings can be found at environment-agency.gov.uk/flood

City of York Council took precautionary measures yesterday, sandbagging the entrance to Tower Gardens and the bottom of Peckitt Street in an attempt to protect potentially vulnerable properties.

The council also installed pontoon walkways in Skeldergate to ensure residents of local flats could get in and out.

The authority said frontline teams were on standby to work round the clock if required to protect residents, tourists and keep York open for business.

“Should any residents need support outside normal office hours or on Tuesday, Wednesday or Tuesday, January 1, when council offices are closed, they can call 01904 551550 or follow @CityofYork #floodaware,” said a spokeswoman.