A major incident has been declared as Storm Christoph is set to batter the UK with heavy rain and gale force winds.

People are being urged to prepare as an amber weather warning for rain was put in place.

It was issued by the Met Office for central northern England, affecting an area around Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and stretching down to Peterborough.

In the North East, a yellow weather warning is in place from early Tuesday morning until 12pm on Thursday.

It has led to a major incident being declared in South Yorkshire in preparation for potential flooding, said Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster.

In a tweet, she said emergency protocols were instigated on Sunday, with sandbags handed out in flood-risk areas.

She said plans would run alongside the region's Covid-19 response, adding: "I do not want people to panic, but flooding is possible so please be prepared."

The Environment Agency described the combination of torrential rain and melting snow as a "volatile situation", as councils prepare for possible evacuations should a severe flood warning be issued, Mirror reports.

Catherine Wright, acting executive director for flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said: "That rain is falling on very wet ground and so we are very concerned that it's a very volatile situation and we are expecting significant flooding to occur on the back of that weather."

She said the Environment Agency will be working with local authorities to help with evacuation efforts should a severe flood warning be issued, adding: "If you do need to evacuate then that is allowed within the Covid rules the Government has."

Heavy rain is expected to hit the UK overnight on Tuesday, with the Met Office warning homes and businesses are likely to be flooded, causing damage to some buildings.

This is the third storm of the 2020/21 storm season so far, with Alex and Bella preceding Christoph.

Calmer conditions heading into the weekend are expected, forecasters said.