WORK has started to remove York's Foss Barrier - just as the River Ouse looks set for serious flooding after amber and yellow warnings were issued for heavy rain.

A crane was being assembled today near the Barrier to carry away the huge metal gate which prevents water from the Ouse backing up the River Foss.

The Environment Agency says it has replaced the gate with a temporary barrier installed into the river bed, which will be used until a new permanent barrier can be put in place.

The warnings for heavy rain have been issued for the Ouse catchment area by the Environment Agency.

The amber warning runs from 6am tomorrow until midnight on Wednesday night for an area including Tadcaster, Skipton, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said there would be heavy rain for 36-48 hours, heaviest across western facing hills, in particular parts of the southern Pennines and northern Peak District where there could see up to 120mm, with 40-70mm of rain widely across the whole Amber area.

He said there was a yellow warning in place for the northern Pennines, which would be combined with snowmelt to present a real threat of flooding.

A spokesman added that with milder air over much of the UK this week, the chance of snow had reduced in the early part of the week, but by Thursday there was a chance of further snowfall in parts of northern Britain as the area of low pressure pulled away into the North Sea.