A FLOOD alert is in place for the River Weaver after heavy rainfall.

The first phase of the town's £7m flood defence scheme was put in place last night, with demountable barriers erected at Hayhurst Quay.

The river level is rising today, showing at just shy of 1.55m at 2pm.

A government-issued flood alert says 'flooding is possible' in the Weaver catchment, and to 'be prepared'.

The alert said: "River levels have risen overnight on the River Weaver as a result of persistent heavy rainfall.

"Consequently, flooding of low lying land, roads and farmland is possible today, Friday.

"We believe there is a possibility of flooding for low lying land and roads around the Rivers Weaver, Ducklow and Wheelock and their tributaries.

"We expect river levels to remain high today. Our incident response staff are closely monitoring the situation and will issue flood warnings if necessary.

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

Northwich was hit by flooding less than a fortnight ago, when intense downpours led to record river levels.

But the Environment Agency said flood defences held - blaming flooding on 'other sources'.