A FLOOD alert has been issued after two weeks’ rain fell in Bolton in the space of just 24 hours.

The Environment Agency said heavy downpours had led to an increased flood risk in Farnworth, Little Lever and Radcliffe after water levels in the River Irwell rose with up to 100ml of rain due to have fallen in the last 24 hours.

Whitefield, Bury and Heywood are also at risk, the agency said.

The agency has warned residents in other parts of Bolton and emergency services to prepare for an increased risk of flooding today and tomorrow.

It said “significant disruption, including disruption to travel and flooding of properties” was possible, and that strong winds would increase the risk of flooding as wind-blown debris had the potential to block watercourses and drains.

A Met Office spokesman said 34mm of rain fell across the borough between Sunday and Monday afternoon.

He said: “In Bolton we’d expect to see 72mm of rain in the whole of September so to have that much in just 24 hours is particularly heavy rainfall.”

North West regional director Steve Moore, from the Environment Agency, said: “We are expecting persistent and heavy rainfall for much of Tuesday. “We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for the possibility of flooding. We also ask that people stay safe by keeping away from swollen rivers and not attempt to drive through flood water.

The latest flood warnings, updated every 15 minutes, can be found at environment-agency.gov.uk n Elsewhere across the UK, a woman in her 30s was killed on Sunday by a falling tree branch in London’s Kew Gardens as high winds and rain battered the country.

Rail links between Chester and North Wales were among a number of train service disruptions yesterday, as some regions were warned to expect winds today of up to 70mph. Meanwhile 23 flood warnings and 130 alerts were put in place across England and Wales.