Clear-up under way, but more rain on the way for flood-hit areas

·3-min read

Rain-lashed towns and villages are beginning a clear-up after floods hit Cumbria and southern Scotland, with more rain on the way.

Two bridges were washed away, around 40 properties flooded, homes evacuated and roads and rail transport all disrupted following very heavy downpours on Thursday and into Friday.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue in Cumbria also had to rescue two tourists and their dog from chest-high floodwater in Southwaite Mill, Cumbria, on Thursday.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

While the rain has eased, 17 flood warnings and 17 flood alerts remain in place and more autumnal weather is forecast, though rivers are believed to be “levelling out”.

No reports of flooding were received overnight.

Andy Brown, flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said but for flood defences the flood damage could have been worse.

Autumn weather Oct 28th 2021
Flooded roads in Cockermouth, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys PA)

He told BBC Radio Cumbria: “Those defences can’t protect us 100% of the time and many people sadly in Cumbria well know, whether you be in Keswick or Carlisle or a number of other places, there will come a point when those defences will be over-topped.

“I’m very grateful today that many thousands of properties avoided being flooded because of those magnificent flood defences.”

The Environment Agency North West said it has teams out checking flood defences and removing blockages go grids.

Flooding in Cumbria
The area has been lashed by heavy rain in recent days (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Cumbria County Council said around a dozen roads were closed but workers had been working overnight to assess roads and inspect bridge closures.

Farther north over the border, Network Rail Scotland said that with extremely heavy rain forecast across Scotland on Friday, speed restrictions have been put in place, causing disruption on the West Coast Mainline between Glasgow and Carlisle.

Two road bridges spanning the River Annan, had been washed away north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the Dumfries to Carlisle line until further notice, Network Rail Scotland said.

High water levels
High water levels in Cockermouth, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A major incident has been stood down in Hawick in the Scottish Borders, with home evacuations halted and residents allowed to return home after 500 properties were feared to be at risk.

The Scottish Borders Council said: “The evacuation of residents has now ceased and members of the public are being advised that they are safe to return to their homes.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) had seven flood alerts and eight flood warnings still in force, centred around Peebles and Hawick in the Borders, while in Cumbria 10 flood alerts and nine flood warnings were in place across the county.

Emergency workers
Members from the Cockermouth Emergency Response Group speak to residents in Cockermouth (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for a huge area stretching from Manchester, across Lancashire and Cumbria and up to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, with heavy rain and some disruption possible due to flooding on Friday.

Another period of heavy rain is expected to affect central and south-west Scotland from early on Saturday, the Met Office said, with 10-20mm predicted to fall quite widely across the warning area, much of this falling in only a few hours, and onto already wet or saturated ground.

Heavier rainfall of 30-40mm is possible across parts of Dumfries and Galloway, mainly on the hills, but rain will clear away eastwards later in the morning.

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