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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Tesco reopens after storm evacuation

SHOPPERS from Whitehaven’s Tesco were evacuated from the store around midday today as a precaution as the storms started to bite.

Acting on advice issued by police and the Environment Agency, the supermarket decided to close due to bad weather and the imminent high tides.

The store has since reopened.

Staff from the nearby Vertex call centre were also evacuated earlier today. The tide had briefly washed into the centre’s car park leaving debris.

The A595 was also closed at Muncaster due to flooding.

St Bees RNLI boathouse was damaged as debris was washed up following the winds and high tides.

The doors to the building were smashed as logs and stones were dragged by waves across the village’s promenade.

Dick Beddows, operations manager at St Bees RNLI, said: “It was fairly bad. We were worried about damage as the boathouse is so close.

“The building was also flooded with around a foot of water, however the boat is undamaged.”

Following the high tides, the bridge, which links the promenade with the rocky area at the foot of St Bees Head, had its foundations exposed.

The bridge, used by around 1,700 people during a busy year, was rebuilt in summer. It may now be closed for repairs.

Elsewhere roads were flooded and rail lines blocked after the coast was battered by storms earlier today.

Police advised people to stay away from coastal areas although the first high tides have passed. The next high-tide, around 1am on Saturday, is not expected to be as severe but warnings are still in place.

Affected areas reported to the police included:

  • The A5087 was closed and some motorists were continuing to try to use the road.
  • Waves were coming over Inverness Road, Silloth.
  • Highways closed the Viaduct area, Newbridge Road and Falcon Street in Workington due to flood water.
  • Maryport to Silloth coastal road flooded. Maryport Golf Course flooded.
  • The Burgh to Drumburgh road was closed near Carlisle.
  • New Bridge Road in Workington was closed.
  • United Utilities’ call centre on Whitehaven’s north shore was evacuated on police advice.
  • Rail lines between Workington and Barrow were blocked.
  • Mealpot Road in Maryport flooded after the River Ellen burst its banks.
  • Port Street in Annan was under threat after Annan harbour flooded .
  • Flooding was reported on the A595 at Muncaster.
  • Durdar Road in Carlisle closed as slates came off the Carlisle Racecourse buildings, people to use caution if in the area.

Motorists are advised not to enter any flooded road that they are unsure of the depth of the water.

Warnings were in place from Gretna to St Bees, including Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Flimby, Port Carlisle, Skinburness and Rockcliffe.

The forecast peaks for high water on Friday were 9m at 12.33pm in Workington and just under 10m at 12.49pm at Silloth.

Police asked motorists to avoid the B5300 at Dubmill Point, near Allonby, as debris on the road was making conditions hazardous.

There had been reports that some people are ignoring the road closure. A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “Roads are closed for a reason. Ignoring it could put lives at risk, not only for motorists but also their potential rescuers. We are reminding people closures must be followed and not ignored.”

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “People living in areas at risk of flooding are advised to keep a flood kit ready, including a torch, batteries, fully-charged mobile phone, warm clothing, water, food, and any prescription medicines you may need.

“Make sure elderly and vulnerable friends, neighbours and family are aware of the situation.”

The Met Office has already issued a yellow warning of strong winds until Friday night, with gusts of up to 50mph expected inland and winds of between 60mph and 70mph on the coast.

A Met Office statement says: “Another spell of unsettled weather is expected on Friday with further wet and windy conditions likely across western areas in particular.

“Tides will be very high, and the public should be aware of the risks of large waves and coastal flooding.”

The Environment Agency is asking people to stay away from the shoreline this evening and tomorrow, warning that coastal paths could be dangerous and there is a risk of being swept out to sea.

Environment and Climate Change minister Paul Wheelhouse urged the public to remain vigilant following the weather warnings.

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