David Cameron confirms deployment of more troops amid severe flooding in England

More than 7,000 homes remain without power following unprecedented rainfall in northern England

flooding, england, david cameron, prime minister, floods, uk, scotland

Rising river levels in Barrowford, Lancashire. Image: Kim Pilling / PA Wire/Press Association Images

David Cameron has confirmed more troops are being deployed to the north of England where more than 7,000 homes remain without power following unprecedented rainfall.

The British prime minister has chaired an emergency meeting to discuss the response to the widespread flooding in York, Leeds and Lancashire.

Mr Cameron said: "We've decided to deploy more military resources, more military personnel to help.

"We'll also make sure that the help we gave to Cumbria will also be available to other parts of the country.

"We'll do everything we can to help people in their hour of need."

A total of 7,524 homes were without power in north west England just after 8am.

Floods minister Rory Stewart said rainfall in some areas reached levels "nobody's ever seen before" yesterday - and another day of heavy rain is expected today.

The Environment Agency has issued 24 red flood warnings - signifying a "danger to life" - for Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Residents in both counties were told to "take action" and to protect property as the downpours began on St Stephen's Day.

Many homes had to be evacuated as high streets became rivers, flood sirens blared and water levels rose beyond windowsills.

Some towns were effectively cut off after all major routes out were closed.

A man in his 70s survived in West Yorkshire, after his Land Rover was almost completely submerged.

Parts of Leeds city centre were under threat overnight as the River Aire continued to rise beyond its record level.

Thousands of homes are being evacuated in York, after the flood barrier protecting the city was lifted last night.

A further 122 flood warnings - signifying flooding is expected - are in place for regions across northern England and Wales.

Another 103 less severe "flood alerts" have also been issued.

In North Wales, Red Cross volunteers are using 4x4s to transport doctors and nurses to Bangor Hospital following flooding of the A55 and surrounding roads.

In Scotland, there are two flood warnings and two lesser flood alerts.

Many towns and villages in the Cumbria region are still cleaning up after Storm Desmond caused damage to hundreds of homes and businesses earlier in December.

Meanwhile flooding has been blamed for an explosion in the Greater Manchester town of Radcliffe.

A small bridge across the River Irwell was washed away by the raging floodwater on Saturday afternoon.

As it was swallowed up by the river, the bridge may have disturbed a gas main under the surface, causing an explosion, all of which was seen by half a dozen people filming the scene on their mobile phones.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the burning gas main had since been dealt with.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing another huge explosion in the town - and seeing a giant plume of smoke rising.