NORTH Yorkshire was braced for flooding today, with the weekend’s heavy rain and the rapid thaw of snow expected to cause river levels to rise.

Several inches of snow fell across the region overnight on Friday, leading to hazardous driving conditions on many roads in North and East Yorkshire, and a number of drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles.

The heavy snow led to a couple, including a woman who was recovering from surgery, being rescued from their car after the vehicle became stuck in a snowdrift in North Yorkshire.

Firefighters were called to the scene between Stape and Egton, on the North York Moors, at about 7.30pm on Friday. The couple had tried to dig themselves free from the snowdrift for more than two hours after their breakdown service refused to attend.

The snow saw turnout to Malton Market on Saturday reduced to only one trader, baker Pete Ellison, while conditions caused one motorist in West Haddlesey to leave the road and crash into a tree. The driver was not believed to be seriously hurt.

In Selby, smoke was seen rising from the ground in Doncaster Road, when an underground electrical transformer caught fire after floodwater caused it to short circuit.

Residents in Scrayingham village, close to Malton, called the fire service after the heavy rain and thawing snow caused water to run towards a number of properties and into a garage.

A fire service spokeswoman said the incident had been left in the hands of the council, who were distributing sandbags.

A man had to be rescued from the roof of his car after it became stuck in a foot of floodwater in Buttercrambe Road, Helmsley, on Sunday. A spokeswoman for the fire service said crews did not have the resources to recover the vehicle, and the road was closed.

Yesterday, the Environment Agency issued flood alerts and warnings for the Rivers Derwent, Foss and Ouse.

Kings Staith and Queen’s Staith, in York, and low-lying land around the rivers was expected to experience flooding today.