More than 3,000 firefighters and soldiers are working to contain flood waters in northern Austria after two days of heavy rain.

The Steyr, Enns, Krems and Traun rivers have overflown their banks, and a number of roads and railway lines have been closed.

The situation is particularly critical in Lower Austria province roads to the villages of Ybbsitz and Hollenstein are cut off.

Water has also started seeping into the medieval town of Steyr in Upper Austria province, flooding a number of houses.

Television images on Wednesday showed residents in the affected regions scrambling to secure their homes with sandbags or desperately trying to drain their basements or garages.

Meteorologists predict the rain will only begin to taper off on Thursday.