Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flooding hits West Cumbria

For the third time in less than a decade Cumbria has been severely hit by flooding.

Enormous quantities of rain fell in the St Bees, Egremont, and Calderbridge areas last night and this morning.

Many homes have been flooded - over a hundred in Egremont alone -  and a train derailed just south of St Bees when it hit a landslide on the tracks - fortunately none of the hundred or so people on board were hurt.

An emergency centre for people who have had to leave their homes has been set up in Egremont Market Hall.

Areas affected include Egremont, St Bees, Gosforth, Beckermet, Calderbridge, Moresby, Ravenglass and Sandwith.

The Environment Agency described the rainfall which produced these flash floods as "Incredible" with 52 millimetres if rain (for the old fashioned, that's a whisker over two inches) falling in Egremont in six hours, and 15 centimetres falling in a quarter of an hour at Calderbridge

I gather than the emergency services have been brilliant. A big thank you to all those who worked to help the victims of these floods.

At least one bridge was closed, in Beckermet, though the BBC says that it has now reopened.

The relief train which was sent to rescue stranded passengers from the derailed train was itself forced to stop by another landslide and they had to be evacuated by road. It is unlikely that normal service will resume on the coastal railway line which runs from Carlisle to Barrow via Whitehaven before Monday.

 There may have to be a review of the maintenance of some of the drains and watercourses in the area which failed to cope with the amount of water. This level of rainfall would previously have been considered exceptional - but then again, if one county gets three instances of severe disruption and damage as a result of exceptional levels of rain in a decade, perhaps we need to review our definition of what is exceptional.

I don't think you could argue that Cumbria has had three instances of once-in-a-thousand-years rainfall in only seven years.


Jim said...

Did you see the house in egremont that fell into the river?

They closed the road for a while whilst what was left of it was demolished.

Chris Whiteside said...

Terrible business.