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Storm Desmond brings record rainfall in a day causing chaos across the UK

By Francesca Gosling

The Government is expected to confirm a UK record in rainfall over 24 hours following the storm that submerged parts of the country at the weekend.

Emergency services in the north of England remain stretched as they call on extra resources to cope with floods caused by Storm Desmond, declared a major incident in Cumbria, the worst affected county.

Fears are growing over the safety of an elderly man who police believe fell into the swollen River Kent in Kendal. Motorists are being advised to avoid the area around Staveley Road.

In London, a 90-year-old man lost his life after he was believed to have been blown into the side of a moving bus by a gust of wind, near Finchley Central Tube station.

Following an emergency Government meeting, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said that figures from a rain gauge in Honister, Cumbria, suggest a record amount of rain fell in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday evenings. It measured 341mm, which is more than a month’s worth of rainfall in just one day and more than the UK has ever experienced in such a short amount of time.

She confirmed that more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the county had been flooded and there is still a threat that the number could rise.

Carlisle remains one of the most severely affected areas as water levels continued to rise past the expected peak time of 9.15am on Sunday.

Around 350 Army personnel, two vehicles and a Chinook helicopter were made available from 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment to assist with the warning and evacuating residents in streets were cars have been almost entirely submerged.

Power shortages are a serious problem in this area and Electricity North West is carrying out planned power outages to prevent 60,000 customers from losing power at once.

Clean water supplies are also an issue as United Utilities confirmed that a number of treatment works and water mains across Cumbria have been affected by the heavy rain.

Major road closures are also still in place and Cumbria police have confirmed that three bridges have been “washed away”.

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