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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Torrential rain creates havoc across the region

ROADS were blocked, trains were cancelled and homes were left under water after South Cumbria again suffered widespread flash flooding yesterday.

Torrential rain falling throughout the afternoon created havoc as councils and emergency services teams scrambled to mobilise their resources.

Cumbria Highways workers battled the elements to unblock drains and sweep away surface water in a bid to keep the region’s main roads open to motorists.

But despite their efforts the drainage infrastructure simply could not handle the deluge, resulting in lengthy tailbacks and significant delays.

The roads in and out of Barrow, Askam, Dalton, Kirkby, Ulverston and Millom were among the worst hit areas in the north-west.

Some drivers reported that it took up to two hours for them to travel from Barrow to Ulverston during the late afternoon as floodwaters made roads treacherous.

Police reported no casualties, but a fire crew from Ulverston was called out to a scene near The Coot in Great Urswick about 2.14pm after reports of a man trapped in his car.

Rescue workers were able to reach the vehicle and tow it to higher ground and the occupant was not injured. Many commuters were left stranded during the afternoon when rail services on the Barrow to Carlisle coastal and Barrow to Lancaster lines were suspended after flooding on the tracks.

Passengers at Ulverston station were initially told taxis and buses would be put on for them, but waterlogged roads forced their cancellation too. Elderly commuters were wrapped in insulating foil blankets in an attempt to keep them dry and warm.

The bad weather left many people unable to get home and meant hotels in Barrow experienced a large number of last-minute bookings.

The Duke of Edinburgh in Abbey Road was quickly booked out, while Abbey House Hotel also reported a significant number of bookings.

Ireleth Road in Askam was transformed into a “raging river” yesterday afternoon according to 82-year-old resident John Pritchard who, together with his wife Irene, 83, was left trapped in his home.

Large amounts of standing water were reported on roads off the A590, including Flass Lane in Barrow, while Dalton was one of the worst affected areas with Market Street and Station Road, closed, while Dale Street in Askam was under water.

Muddy water submerged a row of houses in Ormsgill after the downpour. Valerie Kirkby, of Lime Kiln Walk, said she came home from work to find several feet of water on her property.

She said: “The street was absolutely swimming with water. I nearly died when I saw it.’’

It was not just residents who bore the brunt the downpour though, with a number of businesses reporting flooding.

A leaking roof caused ongoing problems for management at Yates Wine Lodge in Duke Street, Barrow.

Staff were forced to section off an area of the bar after the torrential rain seeped through the ceiling, and the car park at the Tesco on Flass Lane was turned into a lake.

The deluge’s impact even extended to the region’s sporting fields, with Barrow Raiders forced to cancel their first pre-season training session because out-of-town players could not get to Craven Park.

The Met Office predicts a temporary respite from the wet weather today and tomorrow before the rain returns on Sunday.

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