Heavy rain and gale-force winds brought chaos to the Keighley area on Friday. Rush-hour traffic was brought to a standstill as many roads were closed or partially blocked by flooding.

Police were deluged with calls from the public as water or fallen trees made some routes virtually impassable.

Among the worst-effected areas was Silsden, where flooding submerged the main street in six inches of water in the early hours. Silsden Beck had overflowed into Bridge Street and down into Kirkgate.

It washed into a few businesses on the east side of Kirk-gate, including Bonaparte's restaurant and the Hair Design Centre. Judith Russell owns the Hair Design centre, where the floor was three inches deep with water. She says: "The floor is completely damaged - we will have to replace it.

"With the Christmas rush, it couldn't have happened at a worse time," adds Judith.

Rita Twigg had been helping her son Martyn at Twigg's Newsagent's on the west side of Kirkgate. She says: "I've never seen it as bad as this."

This week flood levels in the Aire valley were the highest they have been for a number of years. The river burst its banks at several places, including near Kildwick bridge, where the water was so high it was near the top of the four arches.

Keighley Golf Club, at Utley, has been closed because half of the 18 greens are flooded. Manager Philip Palmer said: "It's the worse I have ever seen it. The water has been up to the top of the bridge."

The Environment Agency, which is monitoring the river, said levels were expected to fall but warned more rain was expected.


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