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A severe flood warning has been issued as forecasters said up to a month's rain could fall over 24 hours with Yorkshire among the worst affected.
The Environment Agency has urged communities in Yorkshire to be prepared for flooding as two bands of very heavy rain were set to cross the UK on Friday and into Saturday.
Craig Woolhouse, head of flood incident management at the Environment Agency, said: 'We are expecting some very significant flooding in the coming days across large parts of the country and would strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings, keep a close eye on the forecasts for their area and be prepared for flooding.
"We would also ask that people stay safe, by keeping out of dangerous flood water and not attempting to walk or drive through it.'
Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said one indication was that up to 100mm (3.9 inches) could fall over central and southern England in a 24 hour period but it was likely to be less.
He said: 'There is quite a large area of rain edging in from south-east England and making its way westwards through the course of today. Much of England and Wales will be affected by rain.''
A music festival that could have welcomed 30,000 revellers over the weekend has been cancelled due to safety concerns. Cher Lloyd and Matt Cardle were all booked to play the two-day MFEST concert at Harewood House in Leeds. In a statement, the event organisers said: 'It is with our deepest regret that due to the adverse weather conditions leading up to this event in conjunction with the extreme weather warning as issued by the Met Office for the weekend, we were left with no other decision than to abandon this weekend's MFEST.''
A man using a mobility scooter was rescued on Thursday night from an underpass that was three feet deep in water, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service confirmed. He was lifted out of the water near the railway station in Goole and he suffered no injuries, they said.
The fire service said they are also receiving reports of flooding in Howden and Rawcliffe.