Residents in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, have been urged to leave their homes over fears a dam may completely collapse after part of the structure was damaged by heavy rainfall.
The Environment Agency warned people living in the Goyt Valley that there is an immediate risk to life as a result of water coming from the Toddbrook Reservoir.
The Canal and River Trust, which manages the dam, has engineers assessing the damage - but images show the collapsed part of the dam growing.
Whaley Bridge, which is home to 6,500 residents, is in the immediate path of the reservoir.
At present, people are sheltering at Chapel High School in Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak.
The evacuees are waiting for further instructions.
At 2.19pm on Thursday, the official Derbyshire Police account posted: “#WhaleyBridge is being evacuated due to the ongoing situation at Toddbrook Reservoir.
”If you are being evacuated then please start heading to #Chapel High School, Long Lane, #ChapelEnLeFrith, #HighPeak, SK23 0TQ, where further direction will be given.”
The force also said in a statement: “Residents are asked to make alternative arrangements to stay with friends and family, ensure that any pets are taken with them and that all medication that may be needed for a number of days is taken with them.
#WhaleyBridge is being evacuated due to the ongoing situation at Toddbrook Reservoir.— Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) August 1, 2019
If you are being evacuated then please start heading to #Chapel High School, Long Lane, #ChapelEnLeFrith, #HighPeak, SK23 0TQ, where further direction will be given.
“If people do not have somewhere to go then they will be accommodated, however, there is limited capacity to do so.”
Further downstream are the towns of New Miles, Marple and eventually Stockport where it meets the River Mersey which heads to Liverpool.
The Environment Agency tweeted: “A severe flood warning is in place for the River Goyt at Whaley Bridge after a reservoir wall is damaged.
“DerbysPolice are evacuating residents and businesses for more info on flood warnings visit bit.ly/1GwYNZH.”
Pictures show damage to Toddbrook Reservoir’s dam wall following heavy rainfall.
Local resident David Holt, who was seen dragging a syitcase of belongings up the quaint town’s high street, said: “Police are knocking on, evacuating everyone within risk of that dam wall breaking.
“If it’s going to go, it’s going to go straight through the village.
“Police are asking you to gather some belongings, leave your house in a secure condition and go to a local school.
“We’ve taken an elderly neighbour to a friend’s house and are heading to the school now.”
On Thursday morning across England there were 17 flood warnings and people were advised to be prepared for 27 flood alerts.
Despite reports of 6in (15cm) of water having receded in the Cheshire suburb of Handforth in the early hours, flooding had still shut down a wide network of roads in the region.
Cheshire East Council said: “Overnight, we have responded to more than 150 highways-related flooding calls and today we will be inspecting our roads, clearing any debris & responding to further requests for assistance.”