Motorists and rail passengers are facing disruption amid heavy rain in Cumbria and parts of southern Scotland, with authorities warning major floods could impact communities.
Weather warnings of heavy rain are in force across those areas, including an amber alert for Cumbria which warns of “danger to life from fast flowing or deep floodwater”.
Twelve flood warnings are in place in the Scottish Borders, where the council is advising people in Hawick living in at-risk areas near the river to “consider plans for evacuating their homes”.
The Met Office said there could be a “danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater”, while the amber alerts also warn of potential damage to homes and businesses from flooding, dangerous driving conditions and travel disruption.
It also warned that communities could be cut off by flooded roads and face power cuts.
Police urged people to drive with care amid reports of flooding and standing water.
Traffic Scotland said it had reports of flooding on the M74/A74(M) around Abington in South Lanarkshire and on the A75 near Barlae in Dumfries and Galloway.
⚠️ Disruptive amounts of #rainfall will lead to #flooding in some areas during the next 24-36 hours
Much of #Cumbria will see around a month's worth of #rain by the end of Thursday with as much as 250 mm over the fells
Latest info 👉 https://t.co/QwDLMfRBfs
Stay #WeatherAware pic.twitter.com/qkYBblKXrO
— Met Office (@metoffice) October 27, 2021
The Met Office tweeted at around 9am that 332mm of rain had been recorded at Honister Pass in Cumbria in the past 32 hours.
Cumbria typically sees an average of 160mm of rain in October.
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth described the weather as "notable" and added: "In a 24-hour period you could see a month’s worth of rain."
She said: "The rainfall total is much higher than the average rainfall for this time of year, definitely, and in general, for any time of year it’s a lot of rainfall in a short period of time."
Cumbria Police warned that some roads may be impassable, while at around 6am on Thursday South Lakes police tweeted that the A591 Rydal to Grasmere road was not passable “due to the depth of flood waters in several locations” and urged people not to take unnecessary risks and only to travel if they really need to.
The Environment Agency issued four flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, as well as 15 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, with the number expected to rise significantly as rain falls overnight.
Ben Lukey, flood duty manager at the government department, said teams had been out clearing waste grilles and screens, and are ready to operate flood defences if needed.
"We are urging residents and visitors, especially holidaymakers in the Lake District, to stay alert and check their flood risk by signing up for free flood warnings on the Gov.uk website and via @EnvAgency on Twitter, which offer the latest updates," he said.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service also warned residents to "be alert to the dangers of floodwater", urging them never to enter floodwater but to call 999 if life is at risk.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued seven flood warnings and three flood alerts, warning of flooding to low-lying land as well as travel disruption.
Network Rail also warned that speed limits and reduced services would be in place on some routes between Wednesday and Friday, with disruption to the West Coast Mainline.
Passengers travelling between Glasgow or Edinburgh and Carlisle are being advised to travel only if the journey is “absolutely necessary”.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “Extreme rainfall can pose a serious risk to the railway, causing land slips or damaging our infrastructure and bridges.
"The safety of our passengers and colleagues is our main priority during periods of poor weather, and slowing services down and running fewer trains will help us manage these conditions for everyone."
Rain was also set to hit south-west England and Wales on Thursday, with a yellow weather warning for rain across much of Wales until Friday afternoon.
Some disruption is expected, particularly in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, though not as widespread or impactful as other affected areas of the UK, according to the Met Office.
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