URGENT flood warnings have been sent out for Bolton as Storm Ciara batters the region.

Heavy rains have led to the Environment Agency issuing flood alerts for the borough.

The danger of flooding is highest in Kearsley from the River Irwell at the Prestolee and Ringley bridges, in Radcliffe from the River Irwell near Close Park, and Bessy Brook in Lostock.

Along with the three red flood warnings in Bolton advising that flooding is expected, there are amber flood alerts for the borough stating that flooding is possible and residents should be prepared.

Amber flood alerts stretch across the Upper River Irwell catchment with Oldham, north and west Bolton, Rochdale, Haslingden, Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall.

There is also an amber alert for the lower River Irwell catchment, which includes areas in Farnworth, Kearsley and Little Lever.

Environment officers have been out checking river gauges at dawn, leading to warnings that roads and farmland located close to the rivers are at serious risk of flooding.

There are also several flood warnings nearby in Bury from the River Irwell near the Bury ground and in Summerseat.

River levels are expected to peak around midday today.

An Environment Agency spokesman said incident response staff are closely monitoring the areas: "Flooding of low lying land, roads and farmland is expected. 

"Our incident response staff are closely monitoring weather forecasts and river levels and will issue further flood warnings if necessary. Please be aware of your surroundings and keep up to date with the current situation. 

"We urge residents to prepare, remain vigilant and avoid walking and driving through low-lying land or near local watercourses."

There are currently 145 flood warnings across the UK and a further 163 flood alerts for the country.