FLOODING caused chaos across York and North Yorkshire as roads were shut, motorists stranded, trains delayed and homes evacuated.

In York, a barge on the River Ouse sank near Museum Gardens, and firefighters received more than 270 calls in 24 hours, as rivers swelled and roads flooded.

Pensioners were rescued from a flooded care home and a widespread search was launched after a man was reported in the River Swale, but that later turned out to be a false alarm.

Some parts of Yorkshire received a month’s rainfall in 24 hours, and flooding could worsen today in York, where the River Ouse – which yesterday rose to 3.36 metres, or just over 11 feet, above normal – is set to rise again. Rainfall is expected to ease off today but water will flow into the Ouse from the surrounding region.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “It is presumed that river levels have peaked up-stream but will not peak in the York area until Wednesday.” He said it was not possible to predict the full effect.

One fire crew worked an 18-hour shift, from 7.30pm to 1.30pm yesterday, repeatedly being called from incident to incident. A crew was called at about 7am to the Ouse near Museum Gardens and Lendal Bridge, where a barge was in danger of sinking.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said crews found the boat badly listing and cut the mooring lines to try to right it, but the amount of water it had taken on meant they could not save it.

Salim Ali, a council worker who was walking to work shortly before 9am, said: “There were a couple of people milling about looking at the barge, but no services around at the time. I think it was past saving.

“By the time I’d walked from Memorial Gardens, up onto Lendal Bridge, the boat did look a little more upended, as if it had been moored too tightly at the front.”

Another moored boat was also reportedly close to sinking near the Bay Horse pub in Marygate, shortly before noon, and the owners were rescued by a boat fire crew.

There were many calls to flooded properties in the Harrogate area, including a school at Summerbridge, where crews used sandbags to try to divert the water away from the building.

Flood warnings were issued for dozens of locations across Yorkshire, including riverside properties beside the Ouse in York.

St Georges Field car park was flooded, and there were warnings covering Rowntree Park and Bishopthorpe Marina. There were 59 river warnings nationally, including the River Swale at Richmond and the Nidd at Knaresbrough, and 158 other flood alerts.

Firefighters, along with a helicopter, launched a search and rescue mission about midday after reports of a man in a yellow jacket being swept away near Marne Barracks at Catterick Garrison.

But the operation was stood down when a yellow rubber ring was found and identified as the probably cause of the scare.

Nineteen pensioners – the oldest of whom was 92 – were carried to safety by firefighters when The Oswin Grove care home at Gilling West, in Richmondshire, was left under three feet of water.

Fire crews from Humberside, Cleveland and Cumbria helped North Yorkshire crews, as they were inundated with calls, mostly from the west and north of the county.

Parts of Yorkshire and the north-east experienced more than a month’s rain in only 24 hours.

At Ravensworth in North Yorkshire, there was 108mm (4.3 inches) of rain, compared to the usual total for the month of 47mm (1.9 inches).

Transport is brought to a halt as downpour hits region

THE heavy rain meant many roads across North Yorkshire were closed, including the A1 in both directions between the A168 and Leeming Bar.

Several cars had to be removed from standing water on the road, near the River Swale at Brompton on Swale.

County council officials pleaded with motorists not to ignore “road closed” signs, after reports that many drivers were doing so and creating bow waves which then flooded roadside properties.

Rail services were also severely disrupted, with reports of flooding to tracks near Darlington, and delays compounded by a signalling problem between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Flooding at Eryholme, near Northallerton, shut services on the East Coast Main Line between Darlington and York and submerged roads meant some bus services were also inoperable.

Rail companies accepted tickets from their competitor firms, as they worked together to try to minimise disruption.