Flood-hit communities face more severe weather


Winter weather Dec 6th 2015
Britain's flood-hit communities are facing the prospect of more heavy rain as the clean-up continues after the devastation wreaked by Storm Desmond.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for rain and wind across northern England and Scotland, with gusts of up to 70mph predicted.

The Environment Agency (EA) said one severe flood warning, indicating there is a risk to life, remained in place for the River Wyre at St Michaels, Lancashire, while there were 20 less serious flood warnings and 29 flood alerts.

A band of rain forecast overnight has brought the potential for further disruption across Cumbria, the county worst hit by the extreme weather, as well as parts of Lancashire and North Yorkshire, the EA added.

Flood warnings may be reissued for Appleby, Carlisle, Keswick, Cockermouth and Kendal but rivers are not expected to return to levels observed last weekend, it said.

Up to 80mm (3.15in) of rain could fall locally in the highest parts of Scotland and north-west England, while 20-40 mm of rain is expected more widely, the Met Office said.

But forecasters have said there should be no repeat of the record rainfall totals seen last weekend, when Cumbria saw more than a month's worth of rain in a day.

About 1,000 properties remain without power in Cumbria, according to Electricity North West. Engineers restored power to Lancaster, Morecambe and surrounding areas early on Tuesday.

Cumbria Police said its estimated worst-case scenario was that as many as 6,425 homes were flooded in the county after Desmond struck.

An estimated 5,000 households and companies forced from their properties by flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire are to be given temporary relief from their council tax and business rates.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said the Government was "determined to do all we can to help" people hit by the floods.

He added that leading insurance firms had given him a "cast iron guarantee that they stand ready and have the capacity to respond straight away to all of their customers".

Cumbria Police said had been "some isolated incidents" of flooded properties being targeted by "a couple of opportunistic individuals". On Monday a burglary took place at a business in Walkmill Crescent, Carlisle, where alcohol and cash worth £4,000 was stolen.

Tools valued at £3,000 were also stolen from a flooded property in Edenhall, Penrith, between 4.30pm on Sunday and 11am on Monday. Extra patrols have been deployed in areas that have been severely affected by flooding.

Three lives have been claimed by the recent extreme weather. The body of a 78-year-old man was discovered in the swollen River Kent in Cumbria, while Irish police recovered the body of Ivan Vaughan, 70, in Co Monaghan.

A 90-year-old man, Ernie Crouch, died after he was apparently blown into the side of a moving bus by strong winds near Finchley Central Tube station in London on Saturday.