10/05/2012 17:11 BST | Updated 10/07/2012 06:12 BST

350 Sheep Rescued After Yorkshire Dales Flood

A band of heavy showers brought flash flooding and rising river levels as it moved across the North of England.

Firefighters in North Yorkshire said they had been called to a number of localised incidents including the rescue of 350 sheep and lambs caught out by a flooded river in the Yorkshire Dales.

They said crews had also attended reports of flooded properties, mainly in the Skipton and Harrogate areas.

There were a number of reports of a flash flood in the village of Summerbridge, north of Harrogate.

One resident said water had poured on to the High Street, bringing debris from surrounding hills into the village centre, but it had since subsided.

Another said on Twitter: "Just been to the shop in Summerbridge. never seen flooding like it - the high street is a river and cricket ground is 2 foot under water!"

Earlier, firefighters further north in the county rescued 350 sheep cut off by the rising River Ure, between Leyburn and Middleham.

A fire service spokesman said: "A specialist fire crew with swift water rescue capabilities from Richmond along with a fire crew from Leyburn attended and used ladders and inflatable walkways to reach the sheep.

"However, rising water levels meant they could not continue with this course of action.

"The swift water rescue team then found a safe route for a tractor, with high ground clearance, and a trailer attached to reach the sheep.

"They were then safely transported on the trailer to dry land."

On Thursday night, three of the four Environment Agency flood warnings in force across England and Wales were for rivers in North Yorkshire. Two were on the River Nidd in the Knaresborough area and the third was on the River Ure in the area of Ripon and Boroughbridge.

Meteorologists said the flash flooding was likely to have been caused by a narrow band of exceptionally heavy showers which worked its way across the North Yorkshire region this afternoon.

Brendan Jones, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said this band of downpours - only 5 miles (8km) to 10 miles (16km) wide in places - combined with the high general rainfall levels seen across the region last night to produce the exceptional totals.

He said: "With that volume of rain coming down, the water just hasn't anywhere to go."

Jones said there were dramatic differences in temperature levels between places caught in the wave of downpours and those just outside.

He said the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough, which had 0.3in (7mm) of rain in an hour this afternoon, only saw a high of 13C (55.4F) today, whereas at Bridlington, just a few miles down the coast, temperatures hit 21C (69.8F).

The highest rainfall figure was in Shap, Cumbria, which saw 1.4in (36mm) in 12 hours today and 2.4in (62mm) in the last 24 hours.

Jones said the narrow band of exceptionally heavy rain had now moved out to the North Sea and the more general rainy weather was moving towards Scotland.

He said tomorrow was looking unsettled in the North of England, although rainfall levels are not expected to be as high as today.

Areas south of Manchester should see brighter weather with the odd shower.

The weekend was looking more settled but cold for the time of year, Jones added.