The north west of England and southern Scotland have suffered deep and widespread flooding from ‘Storm Desmond’ during the first week of December. A band of heavy rain coupled with high winds caused rivers to burst their banks. Carlisle was the worst effected, with Hawick, Keswick, Cockermouth, Glenridding, Appleby and further south St Michaels in Lancashire flooded. Pooley Bridge a 200 year of bridges was washed away. Lancaster and Morecambe had long power cuts after electricity sub-stations were flooded. Rail and road services were stopped and some places in the Lake District were completely cut off. The road between Keswick and Grasmere was washed away and could take months to repair causing a huge diversion for residents who travel between there.
Both Carlisle and Cockermouth had suffered flooding in the not too distant past and had their defences improved. However the floods broke over the top. In Cockermouth some residents were better prepared with waterproof plaster, solid floors, tiled walls and electrics raised near the ceiling, some businesses were open within a couple of days.
The area that seemed worst hit was round the football ground in Carlisle. The players came to help the residents. The emergency services including volunteers did a great job. The RNLI, Mountain Rescue, Fire Brigades, Police, Ambulance, Army all working day and night. The utility companies were working hard to get electricity, phones and services restarted.
In Glenridding in the Lake District a second flood occurred later in the weed and the river blocked with rubble wasn’t able to take it. Local contractors and volunteers came in to dredge the river through the night.
In Lancaster and Morecambe there was no power for days. Living in darkness. It was said candles and batteries and battery powered radios were selling well. Bay Radio was on the BBC Today programme with a great report of their 24 hour live coverage using a generator and taking calls requesting assistance.
In St Michaels between Preston and Lancaster the Rivers Wyre and Brock combined and burst the flood defences, covering miles of fields with water as well as several houses and the village hall.
Later in the week a second smaller band of rain repeated the flooding in some places and by the end of the week it was snowing.
There are so many people who are willing to give their time and help. Overall in these situations the best comes out of the vast majority it’s an inspiration really.
RNLI video of their rescue work in Carlisle. A series of videos from various sources are on YouTube.