Train passengers faced major disruption as flooding hit rail services.
No trains are running between Derby and Nottingham due to flooding on the tracks at Draycot, and other East Midlands’ services have been disrupted.
In the West Midlands, a “vast amount” of services were cancelled or delayed because of floods and landslides.
The prime minister said an emergency meeting about flooding – which has affected 818 properties across England – would be held.
Boris Johnson said troops were “helping deploy over 20,000 sandbags” in South Yorkshire, where hundreds have been forced to leave their homes.
More than 100 schools in the West Midlands have shut and weather warnings are in place across the country, including Oxfordshire.
Heavy rain has forced a major route into Hull to close in both directions between South Cave and Melton, in East Yorkshire, causing travel disruption.
The A63 is the only link between the M62 motorway and the city. Highways England said the closure was “due to increased flooding from water running off the surrounding fields”.
Northern Rail warned commuters not to travel between Sheffield, Gainsborough and Lincoln until further notice.
East Midlands Railway (EMR) said Network Rail was working to lower the water level at the flooded track in Draycott and disruptions would continue through Friday.
Wet weather over the next 48 hours could bring heavy flooding to areas already affected by rising waters, the Environment Agency (EA) said.
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Stoke and Staffordshire