EAST Lancashire was braced for severe weather and possible floods this weekend.

Advice from the Environment Agency placed the county at ‘medium risk’ of flooding today and tomorrow.

Strong winds and rain are expected to make their way north, with coastal areas expected to be worst hit. Flood warnings were in place in north and west Lancashire yesterday.

The Met Office has warned against people travelling to coastal areas over the weekend.

They also said that gusts of up to 50 miles an hour are expected inland over the weekend, which could reach up to 80 miles an hour on the coast.

A spokeswoman said: “While the scenes in coastal areas may look dramatic, they are still dangerous and people should stay away for their own safety.”

The Environment Agency said teams were continuing to work around the clock to check flood defences and close tidal gates.

Yesterday, environment secretary Owen Paterson was forced to deny staff cuts at the Agency will impact on vital flood defences.

He insisted the Environment Agency was seeking to protect frontline services as it deals with a funding squeeze.

The unsettled weather looks likely to continue into next week with showers and longer spells of rain, and occasional gales in exposed areas, according to the Met Office.

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team said: “We have several more days of bad weather to come so people should continue to exercise caution on the roads and keep abreast of the weather and travel reports.

“We are concerned for tomorrow when further heavy rain and high wind could cause localised disruption.

“Driving conditions will remain hazardous, so keep your speed down and watch out for standing water, particularly after dark.

“Many roads will still be flooded, so if you encounter flood water, don’t risk driving through it.

“If your car has been damaged in flood water or the high tide, stay out of it as water can play havoc with the electrics causing things like the airbags to go off without warning, risking serious injury.”