Cumbria Floods, One in a Thousand Year flooding

The affected area is under the blue, which represents rain, showing on this map of the UK, between Belfast in Ireland and Newcastle in the North East of England
The affected area is under the blue, which represents rain, showing on this map of the UK, between Belfast in Ireland and Newcastle in the North East of England

On the 20th November 2009 Cumbria in the North West of England was hit by severe rain. More than 314mm of rain fell in 24 hours. This fell onto ground that was already waterlogged.

It was one of those once in a hundred year occurrences but has since been said to be more like once in a thousand years.

The Lake District is well used to rain but nothing could have prepared the residents of areas, such as Cockermouth, for the deluge that was to descend on them. As it is November flooding is not unknown to the UK but it was the scale of the flooding.

The weather has been unseasonably warm and once again I must ask myself if this deluge was down to an act of God, global warming, climate change.or was just one of those things.

RSOCA inspectors help rescue dogs
RSOCA inspectors help rescue dogs
PC Bill Barker who was swept away.
PC Bill Barker who was swept away.

As the rivers above towns swelled and flooded over the banks those who lived below stood little chance of not being flooded. Homes and businesses were swept away by fierce currents. These currents were so strong that 4 bridges have collapsed, one taking with it a policeman who was standing guard to prevent access by others.

Even by Sunday 22nd November the situation was dire. More bridges look set to fall and one has sunk over a foot. This has left some communities cut off with no access to shops and the like.

Doctors are worried over the health of some that are virtually stranded especially as their medication runs out.

Having endured some flooding two years ago I know all too well how long it will be before things are back to normal for the residents. However our flooding pales by comparison.

The Government has pledged aid but this community will need much more help. We are just starting to see the damage in all its glory and it is vast.

As usual the area has been swamped with sightseers who have hampered the rescue operations. I can't believe some people, can you?

Obviously locals are demanding that the environmental agencies act now to prevent further episodes of sever flooding. However as they have already said they cannot stop such weather as this. They are therefore stating that what is needed is fast and accurate rescue operations and procedures in place for the restoration of homes, villages, towns and cities afterward.

It is frightening to think of the speed that this water took hold. For those who disbelieve claims about climate change and global warming they need to take heed. I have never seen or heard of so many weather and climate issues in all of my 57 years, as I have in the last couple of years.

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Comments 15 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

You are right Natalie it is very sad. The people of Cumbria are still struggling and many be away from their homes for a long time


NATALIE STRONG 6 years ago

I personally think that this story is VERY sad.

A lot of my mates at school want there to be a flood so they have time off school but after they watch this short video i dont think they will.

It is very tragc that the police man died at least we know that hid stopped alot of crimes.

These pictures and the video really told me what to expect if there was ever a flood. I feel so soryy for all of the lives that were lost during this flood.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Aw James you are so sweet. I see you made the hot one hundred. Great work


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Yes, I was saddened to hear about the police officer. And the people stranded. Thanks for the enlightenment. BTW, I see that 98 by your name. That's awesome! Congratulations. You are well loved.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

I know Amanda. I hope they have an appeal for help.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

Hi Ethel, I was really sad watching all this on the news. The Lake District is one of my favourite places, and I've been to Cockermouth many times. We had floods in our neighbourhood the year that Lewes flooded (2000?). Luckily there is a sufficient rise on our road for us to be unaffected, but there were a couple of streets close to me which were flooded, though nowhere near so badly as Cumbria has been. It's terrible for them, especially as the weather can be very cold in December and January up there. Not a good time to be drying out your home.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Yes James I am afraid it is bad for the residents. As the area is rural some people are almost stranded due to the bridges having to be closed. Many bridges have collapsed and others look set to fall also. This has really cut some communities off. They have had more rain and it will be a considerable length of time before people are back home or working. So sad, especially with Christmas approaching and for the family of the police officer who was killed.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Incredible! I didn't know you guys had big floods over there. A lot of people underestimate the power of water, to their potential detriment. Your photos are awesome, especially the night shot 3rd from the top, and I enjoyed the story. I've been to the Lake District and it is picturesque.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Let's hope so Lady E but I imagine it will take some time. We must not forget them though, as often happens


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

What a sad story. I heard of the Weather warnings but no one could have predicted it would get so bad and my heart goes out to the family of PC Barker - a brave Police man.

I hope we never see such floods again and also that the residents are able to return to normality soon.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

The aftermath looks set to be devastating. Bridges are collapsing and small villages are cut off without supplies. Terrible. More rain is on the way too.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

It must be absolutely devastating and soul-destroying to have something like that. My heart goes out to these people.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull Author

Thanks KCC and Ralph. Although the water has subsided somewhat they are going to be in for a rotten year or two, aren't they. I imagine that a disaster relief fund will be set up.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Wow! That's almost as bad as New Orleans after Katrina.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas

It gives me chills to read this and see the photos. It reminds me so much of the Lynton/Lynmouth flood in Aug'52 that I wrote a hub about. The Cumbria area is such a beautiful area. My heart goes out to them.

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