STAFF at York’s Grand Opera House were breathing sighs of relief this afternoon after it narrowly escaped being inundated by floodwaters from the River Ouse.

The theatre in Cumberland Street is vulnerable to flooding in the orchestra pit and lower foyer when the river is in severe flood.

In late 2015, flooding from the Ouse forced the venue to shut its doors over the lucrative post-Christmas period, with seven performances of the venue’s pantomime having to be cancelled.

A spokeswoman said staff had taken precautions yesterday to prepare for the likelihood of flooding by removing carpeting and clearing furniture.

A flood barrier had also been placed across the Cumberland Street entrance.

But fortunately, Environment Agency predictions that the Ouse would peak at 5.2 or 4.8 metres above normal summer levels turned out to be inaccurate, with a peak this lunchtime of only 4.42 metres, and no floodwaters entered the theatre.