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LONDON - Severe flood warnings were issued for several areas of Britain on Monday as rising water levels caused traffic chaos in the worst-affected parts.

In Silsden, West Yorkshire, about 100 workers had to be evacuated from a factory.

Television pictures showed torrents of water rushing through the town, with an articulated lorry stranded precariously in the rising waters.

In Elland, near Huddersfield, 60 young children were moved to a fire station after the ground floor of their canalside nursery flooded.

The Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings - the highest flood threat level - for several parts of nearby Wakefield and Skipton as officials became increasingly worried about the rivers Colne, Calder and Aire breaking their banks.

Parts of western England were also issued with flood warnings, particularly around Gloucestershire, with some areas under water for the second time in six months.

In all, 15 severe flood warnings were in place around the country on top of 121 standard flood warnings, with the northeast the most severely affected.

"If you live in an area that is affected by the warnings and severe warnings, then precautionary measures should be taken," an agency spokesman said.

"These include listening to local radio, looking out for the wellbeing of neighbours and vulnerable people, not travelling to any flooded areas and, if you do have to evacuate, ensuring you take warm clothing."

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for southern Scotland and northern England, saying snow and icy roads could could make driving dangerous early on Tuesday morning.

Virgin Trains said services had reopened between Lancaster and Preston but warned there would be knock on delays after services were suspended earlier.

The latest warnings follow flooding in the summer which led to more than 55,000 homes and businesses being inundated and left an insurance bill of around 3 billion pounds.

- REUTERS