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Woman, 70, rescued by firefighters as floods hit Cumbria again


Glenridding after the river burst its banks following heavy rainfall earlier this month

Glenridding after the river burst its banks following heavy rainfall earlier this month

Glenridding after the river burst its banks following heavy rainfall earlier this month

A 70-year-old woman was among a handful of residents rescued by firefighters as localised flooding caused another difficult day for locals in parts of rain lashed of Cumbria.

The River Eden burst its banks in Appleby for the second time this month, with main roads being swamped in the deluge.

Firefighters rescued three people from properties in the town, the day after the Prince of Wales visited to view the damage caused by Storm Desmond earlier this month.

Appleby, Carlisle, Kendal and Keswick are all on alert with eight flood warnings, where flooding is expected, currently issued by the Environment Agency - down from 14 earlier today.

Firefighters were called out to eight flooding incidents across the county and though river levels have now largely peaked, more rain is forecast for tonight.

The swollen river in Appleby caused the temporary closure of the bridge at the heart of the town as a precaution.

The Environment Agency is using manual pumps to reduce the amount of excess water, while Cumbria County Council said Appleby Bridge would reopen when flooding on Bridge Street subsided.

Further south in the county the village of Glenridding, left completely cut off earlier this month, locals were again sandbagging doorways as floods hit again.

The owners of the Glenridding Hotel, now shut until the new year, posted on their Facebook page that they were "feeling defeated" and "please no more rain" after the latest flooding - the third they had suffered in as many weeks.

The post said: "The beck is overflowing once again past the bridge and what was Ratchers Bar and the kitchen is flooding again. Contractors are in trying to save their equipment.

"Fire brigade are on their way to help pump out the water we are currently at around 2ft of water ... We just need to smile and carry on. Thanks for all your nice comments."

Well-wishers posted offers of accommodation and help, but the hotel replied: "We are all well please don't worry ... but thank you so much for your offers x."

In Keswick the Greta Bridge was closed as the river level inched ever higher.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Rain falling last night and today has led to a rise in some river levels in Cumbria. This will continue throughout the day.

"The amount of rainfall forecast would not usually lead to disruption, but with saturated ground and river levels already high, there may be further flood impacts to roads and potentially some properties.

"Our operational activity is ongoing with teams taking action to reduce the potential impacts of flooding and supporting those communities affected.

"Environment Agency staff are on the ground ready to help residents in the event of flooding.

"Persistent rainfall in Wales could also see parts of Herefordshire and Shropshire experience isolated flooding impacts from the River Wye and River Severn.

"There is currently the possibility for further unsettled weather during the festive period which could lead to some disruption in the North of England.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and will issue further flood alerts and warnings if required. Our teams are working as part of a multi-agency response, checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in rivers and working with local flood wardens.

"People should remember never to drive through flood water - just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car."

Cumbria police said forecast rainfall is not likely to be near the amount that fell during Storm Desmond, but further rain will be falling on already saturated ground and the public should keep away from rivers.

The force said the rain is likely to cause surface flooding on roads across the county and warned motorists to be aware of the deteriorating conditions.

Chief Inspector Matt Kennerley said: "It is imperative that motorists react to the weather conditions and adapt their driving style accordingly.

"Please do not in any circumstance ignore road closure signs and continue on your journey. Driving through flood water is extremely dangerous as you cannot determine the depth."

The Met Office forecasts Wednesday to be largely dry with sunny periods in the North West before heavy rain on Christmas Eve which will clear before more rain falls on Christmas Day.

The latest updates on flooding can be found at www.gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter.

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