Flooding causes disruption but Egremont escapes the worst

15 November 2015 1:11PM

Motorists were today being warned to only drive if absolutely necessary as heavy rainfall causes problems across Cumbria, with some roads now closed.

Surface water is causing hazardous conditions. The A66 is badly affected between Penrith and Keswick, particularly at Threlkeld, with traffic being diverted up to Carlisle and along the M6.

Also closed are the B5320 between Pooley Bridge and Yanwath, the B6259 in Warcop, and the A591 near Low Wood Hotel, Windermere, which is partially closed due to a collapsed wall.

The A595 at Holmrook is currently passable with care but may become unpassable because of rising tide.

A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: "The heavy rain has resulted in flooding on some routes that has forced closure. We have crews out trying to improve the situation where possible, but with the quantity of rain that has fallen we have to let nature take its course. We are warning drivers not to attempt to drive through floodwater if they cannot accurately judge the depth.”

Last night 600 homes in the Egremont area were urged to evacuate due to predicted flooding. However rainfall was less than predicted, meaning the vast majority of homes and buildings escaped.

A number of people made their way to an emergency reception centre, which set up at West Lakes Academy, overnight, but left by this morning.

Police praised the multi-agency response, which involved Coastguard, Homewatch and Mountain Rescue. Assistant Chief Constable Darren Martland, Chair of the multi-agency group, said: "We are pleased that the weather has caused less disruption than first predicted. We still have a number of areas suffering from localised flooding, however we are now in a position to reassure the public that the risk of severe flooding has dropped significantly."

Although there was no major flooding overnight, residents are urged to remain on high alert with more rain forecast.

Flood warnings remain in place across the county, although those in Egremont and Kendal have now been downgraded from severe.

There are currently 15 flood warnings, calling for immediate action, across Cumbria. Those areas most at risk include Keswick, Cockermouth, Wigton, Carlisle, Egremont and Eamont Bridge.

The Keswick area is particularly badly hit, with Threlkeld Cricket Club reporting flooding.

Members are said to be "devastated" after discovering water had breached the clubhouse as well as taking over the pitch. It comes just months after they returned to play there - having been out of action since the ground was destroyed by flooding in June 2012.

The Met Office has this morning extended its amber warning, predicting heavy rainfall across Cumbria, until 11.45pm tonight.

It said: "Further heavy rain is expected across the area this afternoon, easing for a time late afternoon and early evening, before turning heavy again late evening, finally clearing from the west by the early hours of Monday."

Teams from Whitehaven and Maryport Coastguard are today continuing to carry out patrols in flood risk areas, ready to help any vulnerable residents.

Cockermouth Flood Action Group took to Facebook this morning to say the river Cocker has broken its banks in Memorial Gardens. However it adds: "Still lots of capacity behind the Gote defences.

"Drains working well with pump."

The severe conditions are expected to continue throughout today, with some areas predicted to be hit by a month's rainfall in 24 hours.

Chief Inspector Matt Kennerley, of Cumbria Police, said: "Many of the county's roads have minor road surface flooding. Our advice is to drive only if necessary today as it is expected, that with further deteriorating weather conditions, more roads will be affected with an increasing severity.

"If you must drive please do so with extreme care. Motorists should not drive through any flood water of which they cannot judge the depth. Also a concern is the spray coming from the roads which decreases a driver's visibility."

Properties in Egremont remain on high alert due to high levels in the River Ehen, Whangs Beck and Skirting Beck.

Stewart Mounsey at the Environment Agency said: “Flooding can happen very quickly and with catchments already saturated and more rain expected people need to be prepared."

Almost 10in of rain is forecast for parts of the county as the remnants of Hurricane Kate hits the county.

The Environment Agency yesterday issued new flood alerts for rivers across the area, however, at 4.45am today it upgraded those alerts to warnings in many areas.

Parts of Carlisle are now under a warning - which means flooding is expected. Among this is Rickerby Park, where water levels are rising.

Other rivers under flood warning are the Cocker, Eamont, Wiza Beck, Black Beck and the Greta.

A warning remains in place for Keswick Campsite.

The less serious flood alerts are also in place for other sections of the Rivers Ehen, Calder, Irt, Esk, Cocker, Marron, Derwent, Lowther, Eamont, Greta, St Johns Beck, Caldew and Petteril.

An alert is also in place for Bassenthwaite Lake.

Homeowners living near these rivers are warned that flooding is possible. They are urged to be prepared to protect their family, pets and property if necessary, while farmers are urged to move livestock away from low lying areas.

Electricity North West said it is monitoring the weather closely, and urged anyone in flood-hit properties not to touch electrical equipment or cables It reassured residents that additional engineers and customer advisors are on standby.

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