LONDON - A woman died after being swept away by surging waters as torrential rain drenched parts of north and central England, swelling rivers, forcing evacuations and disrupting travel for a second day Friday.

In the city of Sheffield, 140 miles (228 kms) north of London, the River Don overflowed after 3.4 inches (85 mm) of rain fell on Thursday. About 30 people sought refuge in the Meadowhall shopping centre after floodwaters stranded shoppers who had turned up to see Christmas lights switched on.

“Some places have seen a month's worth of rain in one day,” said meteorologist Alex Burkill of the Met Office weather service.

Kathleen Overton from Toll Bar near Doncaster, another badly affected area, said the rain had been “almost biblical.”

“You were just looking out of your window in disbelief at how much of it was coming down,” she said. “People's cars were getting submerged in the water, gardens were ruined, you couldn't drive anywhere. It was carnage.”

Rain eased off Friday and the Environment Agency said levels along the Don were starting to fall, though areas downstream from Sheffield could still face flooding. About 60 warnings were in place late Friday afternoon, as well as six severe “danger to life” warnings near the Don.

Emergency service workers in Derbyshire county, south of Sheffield, recovered a body near the River Derwent after reports of a woman being swept away by floodwater.

The Environment Agency said the highest rainfall on Thursday, 4.4 inches (112 mm), was registered in Swineshaw, in Derbyshire's Peak District.