Communities across North Yorkshire liable to flooding can sign up for early warnings which could protect them and their homes after the Environment Agency extended its system.

The new service means more than 3,700 extra homes can now receive warning messages sent at the "prepare and act" stages of flooding to help people make informed decisions about how to respond.

The agency says 100 existing flood warnings have been improved and 62 new flood warning areas created. A warning message will be issued when flooding is forecast and then again to warn users if impacts are likely.

Residents can register for free and choose to receive notifications via phone call or text. There are three types of warning. Flood Alert, Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning.

Householders are encouraged to prepare if they receive a Flood Alert which could mean packing a bag that includes medicines, insurance documents and anything else they wouldn't want to lose if flooding happened. A Flood Warning calls on people to act immediately, turning off gas, water and electricity and moving family and pets to safety. A Severe Flood Warning means there is immediate danger and people should follow advice from the emergency services.

Many properties previously considered too remote, rural, or difficult to warn of flooding because of lack of power supply, are now able to tap into the service.

Areas of North Yorkshire covered by the new flood alerts and warnings include Brompton-on-Swale, Bedale, Helmsley, the River Esk at Glaisdale and the Upper Rye.

Graham Lindsey, flood resilience leader at the agency, said: "We know the devastating impact that flooding can have, which is why protecting people and communities is our top priority. 

"These warnings are there to help people prepare for, and become more resilient to, flooding incidents and this new service allows even more people to take appropriate action when flooding is forecast. We would encourage all of those in new flood warning areas to sign up now for free for both their safety and peace of mind."

The programme has included installing 15 new river level gauges and two new rain gauges to ensure decisions about when to issue a warning are made using real time data.

People are being urged to register directly with the Environment Agency by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188, or visiting