People are being urged to avoid travel unless 'absolutely necessary' ahead of Storm Christoph hitting the region.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy rain and flooding warning in parts of Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, East Midlands and the east of England.

Flood alerts are in place for some areas surrounding the River Mersey and the River Irwell in Greater Manchester for the next 48 hours.

The warnings have prompted Greater Manchester Police to issue advice to residents.

The force said it is ready to 'stand up' a major incident response, should it be necessary.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, Chair of the GM Strategic Coordination Group for Storm Christoph, said: "We are aware that Storm Christoph is due to reach the North West tomorrow and I want to reassure the public that we're working alongside other agencies across the region - including local authorities and emergency services - to ensure that Greater Manchester is as prepared as possible.

"An amber weather warning remains in place for most of Greater Manchester and you should contact your local authority if you are concerned about flooding in your area, but always call 999 in an emergency.

"Heavy rainfall is expected across large parts of the North West over the next 48 hours and we'd advise people to only travel if absolutely necessary and to take great care when using the roads.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to stand up a major incident response should it be required.

"It is likely that flood alerts will be issued this evening to ensure that everyone has as much time as possible to prepare for possible flooding. We will continue to provide updates as often as we can."

According to the Met Office, "heavy rainfall combined with some snowmelt across the hills is likely to lead to flooding."

The amber warning area includes Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Wakefield, Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester and Peterborough.

The amber weather warning means:

The warning is in place for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, starting from 6am tomorrow (January 19) until 12pm on Thursday (January 21).

Up to 70mm of rain is forecast to fall within 48 hours in the worst-hit areas.

The Environment Agency has issued 11 severe flood warnings in place, as well as 67 flood alerts.

Flood alerts in Greater Manchester

This includes the middle River Mersey catchment including areas near Bramhall, Stockport, Sale, Altrincham and Urmston.

Alerts are also in place for areas around the River Mersey Uplands including Hyde, Ashton-under-Lyne, Denton, Stalybridge and Glossop

The Environment Agency said areas of the lower River Irwell catchment could flood too.

People are being urged to avoid 'low lying' footpaths near local rivers and watercourses.

Details of each flood alert can be found here.

A statement on the Environment Agency website on Monday night said: "A prolonged period of heavy rain from the evening of Monday 18th to Wednesday 20th January will cause river levels to rise at the Manchester Racecourse river gauge and consequently flooding of property or roads and farmland is possible.

"We believe there is a possibility of flooding for low lying land and roads around the Rivers Irk and Medlock, Wince and Worsley Brooks and their tributaries.

"Further rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours.

"We expect river levels to remain high over the next couple of days and due to peak in the early hours of Wednesday 20th January.

"Our incident response staff are closely monitoring weather forecasts and river levels and will issue flood warnings if necessary.

"Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses, be aware of your surroundings, and keep up to date with the current situation.